A Guide To Safari Seven
The Safari Sevens, is an annual rugby sevens tournament held in Kenya. The tournament is run by the Kenya Rugby Football Union. The competition is promoted as being Africa’s premier rugby sevens tournament drawing crowds of over 20,000 to the weekend event.
It is unusual amongst modern tournaments in that it is contested by numerous national representative sides from Africa and beyond, by professional sevens outfits, professional and amateur club sides, invitational teams, universities and schools. The competition was originally held at the RFUEA Ground, Ngong Road, Nairobi. At that time the South African company Supersport was broadcasting the tournament live on DSTV.
After 15 years at the RFUEA Ground and growing attendances annually, the tournament was taken to the Nyayo National Stadium for the first time where it run in 2011 and 2012. The rationale for the move was to allow room for more spectators as the RFUEA Grounds had in previous years been packed to the rafters.
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In 2013 it was moved to its current home at the 60,000 seater Moi International Sports Centre at Kasarani in Nairobi’s northern suburbs.
Since the earliest days, rugby in Kenya had relied on a regular influx of foreign touring sides in order to test the mettle of the local teams and to provide opposition for the representative sides such as the Scorpions RFC and East Africa. The coming of professionalism to rugby in the 1990s all but dried up these tours and it was decided that a means had to be found of reinitiating the influx if the quality of rugby in the country was not to stagnate.
The Rugby Patrons Society decided to put in place a seven-a-side tournament and invite a number of foreign national and club teams to participate. Robin Cahill (a founder member of the society and the man whose brainchild the tournament is) led a team of Patrons to run all the early competitions and oversee its integration into the Kenya Rugby Football Union’s calendar. The trophy, a bronze of two elephants, is named in his memory.