World Series sides set for Safaricom Sevens
The Safaricom Sevens might not have been on the radar of Spain and Portugal in previous years, but the tournament is currently front and centre in their thoughts as they accelerate their planning and preparation for the Gold Coast Sevens, round one of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The tournament in Nairobi takes place on 21-23 September with the Iberian neighbours set to compete against fellow Series side Kenya and a number of other aspiring nations.
Australia's Gold Coast is set to host the world's best in only a few short weeks, with Spain and Portugal both looking forward to a full season as 'core' teams. Kenya, meanwhile, will be hoping to successfully defend the Safaricom title they won last year, under new coach Mike Friday.
"First and foremost, we need to secure core team status for next season," Friday told Total Rugby when asked what his aims were for the new season.
"But we need to bring consistency to the players' performances, and to the young squad as they evolve.
"Ideally we want to be competing in Cup competitions on day two, and then you can take it from there."
This season every Series point takes on more significance following the announcement of the new promotion/relegation process, making a strong warm-up and start all the more important.
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Portugal will be making their debut at the 17th Safaricom Sevensl, which will be played at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, and Spain only their second appearance following their debut in 2011.
Other African nations participating are Zambia, Uganda and Rwanda, while the strong draw is completed by the likes of Kenya's second string Shujaa, Samurai International, the Emerging Boks, Grenoble, Universities Select, Bristol Barracudas, Hamilton Raiders and a Chairman Select.
Silverbacks on the prowl
The Rwanda Silverbacks will be making their fourth appearance at the tournament, and coach Gerard Nsenga is hopeful of a more successful outing this year.
"Last year we did really well to reach the (Plate) semi final and lost to Uganda, but I hope this time we can go a step further," said Nsenga.
"We have had enough time and resources to prepare well for this tournament, I am hopeful we can go there and do something we have never done before and win the title."
Kayange to step out against Kenya
Perhaps the best known face in Nairobi will be that of Kenya's former national team captain, Humphrey Kayange.
Once again the crowds will have the chance to cheer on the giant forward, although not for Kenya.
Kayange is currently studying for a Masters degree at Bristol University and he is due to captain the Bristol Barracudas in this tournament. Should they come up against the home favourites, it will be interesting to see which way the crowd goes..
8-9 December 2012
Venue: Port Elizabeth Bay Stadium
City: Port Elizabeth