Teams jet in ahead of prestigious U20 Barthés competition

Kenya is the defending champion

Kenya's Collins Eyan battles Tunisia players during the U20 Barthes Cup at Ruaraka last year Image: Erick Barasa/The Star

Seven teams from across the continent have arrived in Kenya ahead of the much anticipated Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy set to kick off this Saturday, April 9 at Nyayo National Stadium.

Kenya U20 also known as Chipu will be aiming to win the title three years in a row but most importantly earn the right to represent the continent at the World Rugby Junior Cup in Barbados next year.

Only three teams participated last year due to Covid-19 interruptions, with Kenya edging Madagascar 21-20 to retain the trophy.

The tournament, which serves as Africa’s U20 championship features eight teams and will be played on a knockout basis over three match days.

This year, Madagascar, Namibia, Senegal, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have all confirmed they will be vying for the title.

There will be four quarterfinal fixtures on Saturday with the semifinals set for Wednesday, April 13 at the same venue. The finals will be played on Sunday next week.

On Saturday, Namibia face the fast-improving Ivory Coast in the opening match. The second match of the day will see Tunisia square it off with Zimbabwe.

Later on in the day, 2021 runners-up Madagascar will take on Zambia with Chipu facing off bitter-rivals Uganda in the last quarter-final match.

The winner between the two East African neighbours will face the winner of the Madagascar and Zambia clash in the semi-final set to take place on Wednesday, April 13.

The other semi-final will see, winner between Namibia and Cote d’Ivoire take on either Tunisia or Zimbabwe.

“This is a major step forward for U20 rugby in Africa and as the Kenya Rugby Union, we are honored and humbled to have the opportunity to host this event. It is the first time we are hosting a unified competition for this age group,” said Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Oduor Gangla.

He concluded by encouraging the fans to show up to cheer on the home-side. "This year’s event will be played in front of spectators and we look forward to hosting a memorable event in Nairobi.”

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