Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rugby World Cup: Kenya on verge of Qualifying as Africa 1

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Every Rugby World Cup tournament played to date has had a debutant. Since the first tournament played in 1987 there has always been at least one country qualify for a first ever Rugby World Cup in subsequent years. Having  not been invited to participate in Rugby World Cup 1987 Samoa qualified for 1991 while South Africa and Cote d'Ivoire featured in 1995. Namibia, Spain and Uruguay were new additions in 1999 while every tournament thereafter has had one new qualifier - Georgia in 2003, Portugal in 2007 and Russia in 2011. This appears set to continue with Kenya now on verge of qualifying for a first ever Rugby World Cup and, in doing so, facing Argentina.  


Having made eleven changes from the team that toppled Namibia 29-22 on Saturday Kenya was still too strong for Madagascar in today's Rugby World Cup Qualifier in Antananarivo. Kenya's emphatic six tries to zero 34-0 victory sees the host nation eliminated and means Kenya is now very close to becoming the fifth African country to qualify for a Rugby World Cup.

With two bonus point victories over Namibia and Madagascar Kenya is sitting top of the standings with ten points, four clear of the second placed Zimbabwe. Namibia has five points while Madagascar remains on zero. The match was Kenya's first victory over Madagascar in four attempts.

Earlier in the day Namibia completed a late come-from-behind 24-20 victory to keep its hopes alive of qualifying for a fifth consecutive Rugby World Cup. In order to so so Namibia must win its third and final match against Madagascar and also requires a favorable outcome from the Kenya v Zimbabwe fixture. 

The Africa 1 position therefore remains open. Should Kenya collect two points it would be confirmed as the winner of regional qualification. In other words Kenya can qualify in one of the following ways - defeat Zimbabwe, draw with Zimbabwe, lose to Zimbabwe but score four or more tries and lose by seven or less points or in the event that teams are locked on points Kenya could, pssoibly, advance as the top scorer. 

For Namibia to qualify it needs a big win over Madagascar to finish with ten competition points and needs Zimbabwe to win against Kenya. In the event that this indeed transpires Namibia would enter repercharge as Africa 2, taking on Russia. Namibia can therefore no longer qualify directly for Rugby World Cup 2015. A win by more than seven points for Zimbabwe would see it qualify for a Rugby World Cup for the first time since 1991.

Namibia could also qualify direclty if Kenya picks up no points against Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe were to win without scoring four tries. This being the case then Namibia would need to finish with a superior for and against record. 

1
Kenya
10
2
Zimbabwe
6
3
Namibia
5
4
Madagascar
0

The winner of the current four team competition will be confirmed this Sunday with the final round of matches taking place. Kenya is now favorite to be confirmed as Africa 1 and qualify directly for Rugby World Cup 2015. It will take the final vacancy in Pool C, joining Argentina, Georgia, New Zealand and Tonga. 

If successful against Russia Africa 2 would then face the winner of Uruguay v Hong Kong in October in the Final Place Play-Off for Rugby World Cup 2015. The reward for winning the repercharge series is a place in Pool A to take-on Australia, England, Fiji and Wales. This team will face both the English and Welsh in England and Wales and have an unfriendly match schedule too.

Africa 1 will also be asked to play with short turn-arounds in the tournament. The team is to have the difficult task of facing New Zealand on September 24 and Tonga on September 29 and then face Georgia on October 7 and October 11. The match against Argentina will be in Leicester with the Africans having just a three day recovery time. Argentina is to have a week between facing Tonga and Africa 1. 

POOL C
19/09 -12:00Tonga
 - 
GeorgiaKingsholm
20/09 -16:45New Zealand
 - 
ArgentinaWembley Stadium
24/09 -20:00New Zealand
 - 
Africa 1Olympic Stadium
25/09 -16:45Argentina
 - 
GeorgiaKingsholm
29/09 -16:45Tonga
 - 
Africa 1Sandy Park
02/10 -20:00New Zealand
 - 
GeorgiaMillennium Stadium
04/10 -14:30Argentina
 - 
TongaLeicester City Stadium
07/10 -20:00Africa 1
 - 
GeorgiaSandy Park
09/10 -20:00New Zealand
 - 
TongaSt James Park
11/10 -12:00Argentina
 - 
Africa 1Leicester City Stadium

2 comments:

  1. Would love to see Kenya qualify directly, but I suspect Namibia will sneak it... It wouldn´t be rugby if a promising up and coming side got pipped at the post by an undeserving favourite, now would it?...Hope I´m wrong, of course, but expecting heartbreak for Kenya, and for the predictability that plagues this sport to rear its ugly ahead yet again...

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  2. A couple of inaccuracies surrounding the permutations. Namibia can still qualify directly. If they get a bonus pt win, and Zimbabwe win without a bonus pt and Kenya don't get any bonus pts then all three teams would finish on 10pts and it would come down to for and against.

    Also as long as Zimbabwe don't get a bonus point, Kenya only need one point to qualify, be that with losing by 7 or less or scoring four tries. So for Kenya the equation is at worst to keep within 7 points of Zimbabwe and not let them get 4 tries.

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