Rugby Africa announces competition programme and calendar for 2021

0

One of the six regional associations of World Rugby, Rugby Africa will stage five annual competitions across the continent in 2021.

Andrew Owor, Rugby Africa’s Vice President, said this in a statement made available on Tuesday in Cape town, South Africa, and that it would come up on Jan. 25.

Rugby Africa is gearing up for a potentially exciting year across the continent, he said.

He said that a release of a detailed calendar of upcoming competitions would be made available.

He added that one of the six regional associations of World Rugby, Rugby Africa stages five annual competitions across the continent, would include the Rugby Africa Cup.

These are: the U20 Barthés Trophy, the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, Africa Women’s Sevens and Africa Men’s Sevens.

“With the first round of competitions potentially kicking off in March, teams are already preparing, and by all accounts both unions and players are thrilled at the opportunity to participate in the game.

“With the season cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rugby Africa said that they were looking forward to players returning to the field and advancing the sport and their athletic prowess.

“The ongoing pandemic may result in tournaments being postponed or cancelled at short notice therefore, dates are tentative, and also allocated fall back dates to mitigate any disruptions or delays,” Owor said.

According to the Rugby Vice President, the first highlight on Rugby Africa’s calendar is the U20 Barthés Trophy 2021, which kicks off in Nairobi from March 25 to April 4.

“This will be hosted by the Kenya Rugby Union where all eyes are on the top four ranked teams (Kenya, Nairobi, Senegal, and Madagascar).

“The winner qualifies for the Junior World Trophy tournament organised by World Rugby, set for September. Fall back dates for this Round-robin single tournament are set for June. In 2019, Kenya hosted and won Pool A.

“In May, attention turns to West Africa for the Rugby Africa Cup repackaged, a qualifier for the 12th slot in the Rugby Africa Cup Pools 2021,” he said.

“Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Eswatini, Mauritius, Morocco (pending suspension review) Nigeria and Rwanda are all eligible for the big draw, with a July international window as a fallback option,” he said.

He added that Rugby Africa Cup Pools would kick off in July, with four pools of three teams each playing a Round-Robin tournament at a single venue per pool.

“The best two teams from each pool will qualify for RAC 2022, which serves as the final round of Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier for Africa.

“The Women’s 15s runs at the same time, with each host union hosting a Women’s 15s test match between host union and a visiting or neighbouring country.”

This year, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Tunisia are likely to emerge as the host teams, but the real prize will go to the winning teams, who can look forward to a fully revived Women’s 15s in 2022.

The November international window   would be earmarked as the fallback option for the RAC Men and Women.

He added that the Africa Men and Women 7s World Cup pre-qualifiers would run through August and September in four regional tournaments, with men and women’s tournaments to be hosted in the same venue, on the same dates.

‘As a safety precaution, the entire months of October, November and December will remain open should tournaments be postponed and re-programmed due to the ongoing pandemic.”

He said that in collaboration with its member unions, Rugby Africa hoped to deliver a successful and safe 2021 competition season.

He said that to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our athletes, officials, and volunteers, would work closely with our Medical Advisory Committee, our Unions, and local authorities to monitor the situation and take appropriate steps.

‘The underpinning principle is to give all Rugby Africa member unions a chance to participate in the qualification process of the Rugby World Cup and 7s World Cup.