Kenya joins elite rugby status

Kenya is among one of only 60 countries to join IRL

Enoch Wamalwa in a Rugby League match. Photo Courtesy; iKAM photography

Kenya has become the 60th country to gain membership of International Rugby League (IRL), after their federation was approved as an observer member.

Members of the IRL last week formally supported the recommendation from their board for Kenya Rugby League Federation (KRLF) to join.

Kenya Rugby League Federation Chairman Nyakwaka Adhere said; “Our coaches, match officials and managers now have access to international accredited courses and this helps to build the pillars of rugby development in Kenya.”

“We started pursing this affiliation process 9 years ago as team, together with the late Benjamin Ayimba. It coming to fruition in his absence I can only dedicate it to him by ensuring his legacy lives on,” concluded Adhere.

“The approval of Kenya Rugby League as a member of IRL demonstrates clearly the continued growth and appetite for the sport, particularly in the Middle East Africa (MEA) region,” said IRL secretary general, Danny Kazanjian.

“I would like to congratulate KRLF and welcome them to the IRL community. I know how hard the Chair of KRLF, and his team have worked on this application, and I look forward to seeing them develop and prosper.”

MEA regional manager Remond Safi added: “I am pleased that, after much significant groundwork, we finally have an organisation in Kenya that has been approved by IRL for membership.

“It has been a lengthy and complicated process to ensure that there is a robust governance process in place for further growth in the country, and their presence also strengthens the sport in East Africa.”

Difference between Rugby League and Rugby Union

Rugby is divided into two main “codes”; Rugby League and Rugby Union. Although there are many similarities between the two variants of rugby, the differences are pronounced enough that the two codes can be considered to be two different games.

In Rugby League, each side has 13 active players, and 10 substitutions are allowed during the course of the game. In Rugby Union, each side has 15 active players, and 7 substitutions are allowed by each side during the course of the day.

In Rugby League, a try is worth 4 points, a goal is worth 2 points and a field goal/drop goal is worth 1 point. In Union, a try earns 5 points, a penalty kick or a drop goal is worth 3 points, and conversion kick is worth 2 points.

Kenyans are more accustomed to Rugby Union. Rugby union in Kenya is a popular sport, in particular due to the success of the Kenya national rugby sevens team in the rugby sevens format, and tournaments such as the Safari Sevens.

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