July 5,2014(ISN) – Kenya star Humphrey Kayange says that qualifying for RWC 2015 in England and facing the All Blacks would be like a dream come true.
By avoiding defeat against Zimbabwe in the final round of Confederation Africaine de Rugby Africa Cup Division 1A matches in Antananarivo on Sunday Kenya would confirm their place at England 2015 – the nation’s first appearance on Rugby’s greatest stage.
The Africa Cup champions will join champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C and for Kayange, a star of the Sevens circuit, qualification would be a career highlight.
“Qualifying would mean an awful lot to Kenya, the team and our fans, who are amazing. It would be like a dream come true to play New Zealand in the Pool stages and face the Haka – it is something that we dream about,” Kayange said.
“We have come close a couple of times in the past, but we came into this tournament aiming to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015 and we have the chance to do that on Sunday.”
Zimbabwe’s 24-20 defeat to Namibia on Wednesday means that it is mathematically possible for all three teams to finish top of the table going into Super Sunday.
To have any hope of winning the title, Namibia, Rugby World Cup ever-presents since 1999, need to take maximum points from their clash with bottom-of-the-table Madagascar and hope Zimbabwe beat Kenya with neither side picking up a bonus point in the process.
Kayange acknowledges that while it is all to play for, Kenya are very much in the driving seat.
“We played well in the first two games, getting two wins, which puts us in a good position heading into the final round of matches,” he said.
“Zimbabwe are a big team who will come at us hard and the key for us is composure, to keep focused and to ensure that we get the points that we require.”
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Director of Rugby Liam Middleton believes that his side’s destiny is in their hands as the Sables aim for a first Rugby World Cup appearance since 1991.
“We know what we have to do and how we are going to approach the match and qualification is in our hands. We need to win and win well.”
Namibia team manager William Steenkamp believes the approach is simple – win well and hope that the other result is favourable: “We are still in the race and we need to produce a very good performance to be in with a chance of progressing.”
The Webb Ellis Cup will be in attendance in Antananarivo as part of the global Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour driven by Land Rover and DHL capping a week of school, IRB Get Into Rugby, club and United Nations World Food Programme event, that truly demonstrated the enormous passion for Rugby in Madagascar.
IRB Vice Chairman Oregan Hoskins, who has been in Madagascar this week, said: “We have witnessed a magnificent response here in Madagascar to the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour driven by Land Rover and DHL.”
“We have seen such excitement in schools and at local Rugby activities and I am sure that there will be a very special atmosphere in the stadium on Sunday.”
CAR President Aziz Bougja added: “For the Unions of Africa, Rugby World Cup is the financial engine that drives the development of the Game across an Africa region of nearly one million players.”
“As demonstrated throughout this CAR Africa Cup Division 1 A tournament, African Rugby is growing and it is flourishing at community level in schools and clubs (as so wonderfully displayed here in Madagascar) and gaining in stature on the international stage.”
“am proud of that growth and CAR and the IRB is committed to ensuring that Africa continues to be represented on the biggest stages, such as Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games, in order that we can inspire more young people to participate and to have fun.”