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Kenya Rugby Sevens’ Team Relegated from HSBC Rugby Series

After losing to Canada 12-7 in the playoff final on Sunday at Twickenham Stadium in London, the national sevens rugby team was demoted from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

For the first time in twenty years, the Kenyans’ standing as a core team on international rugby’s elite sevens competition was jeopardized by defeat.

The only time the nation came dangerously close to being demoted was during the 2018–2019 Series, when it finished 13th with 37 points, two positions above the bottom division.

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The World Series decided to cut the number of men’s teams from 16 to 12 for the following season in order to correspond with the women’s competition and the Olympic field. This resulted in the four-team relegation playoff that was a part of the HSBC London 7s, the 11th and final stop of the men’s season.

Following the competition in Toulouse, France, over the past weekend, Japan, the 15th-place team in the standings, was demoted.

The round-robin relegation playoff was then between No. 12 Uruguay, No. 13 Kenya, No. 14 Canada, and Tonga, who had won the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.

Kenya had maintained its chances after making it to the championship game on the basis of points differential after losing to Uruguay 14-10.

Kenya, Uruguay, and Tonga will compete in their respective Regional Sevens Championships in order to qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series, while Canada joins the World Rugby Sevens Series as the 12th core team.

Relegation has consequences since World Rugby will no longer sponsor trips and the players will no longer be able to participate in the elite division of rugby.

For the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in 2024, Kenya must have a strategy that includes adequate finance and investment.

To keep the players engaged and competing in events around the world, they will need to find sponsorship.

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