Rugby Super Series: Ex-Simbas star reveals why tourney could be the route to Kenya's World Cup qualification

Photo || Shujaa Pride

Rugby Super Series: Ex-Simbas star reveals why tourney could be the route to Kenya's World Cup qualification

Mark Kinyanjui 17:13 - 01.05.2024

Kenya are eyeing a spot in the 2027 Rugby World Cup, and former Kenya international Lawrence Buyachi feels the returning Rugby Super Series could help bring that to fruition.

Former Kenya 15s international Lawrence Buyachi has explained why the return of the Rugby Super Series will go a long way in helping the country qualify for its maiden Rugby World Cup in 2027.

After nearly a decade-long hiatus, the revival of the Rugby Super Series presented a challenge to the organising committee: to reintroduce the competition with renewed vigour while ensuring innovation and freshness. 

The return of the tournament, however, has been met with enthusiasm and anticipation.

Leading the charge are three franchises: the Lions, captained by former Kenya Simbas and KCB lock Oliver Mang’eni; the Rhinos under the stewardship of Paul Murunga; and the Buffaloes, helmed by Maxwell Adaka.

 Notably, Buyachi, a two-time Kenya Cup winner with Nakuru, takes the reins of the Cheetahs, a franchise he represented for four seasons from 2009 to 2012.

For the 2024 iteration, the Cheetahs will be based in Nakuru, comprising players from Menengai Oilers, Nakuru RFC, Impala, Homeboyz Kabarak, and University of Eldoret. 

Speaking to KRU Media, Buyachi, a World Rugby Level II accredited coach, has emphasised the tournament's pivotal role in elevating the quality of Kenya's national team

“The Rugby Super Series is the best thing that can happen to the national team," said Buyachi, while underscoring the need for heightened competition beyond the traditional league structure, where only a few teams have dominated for years.

“With the Rugby Super Series bringing together at least 25 top players for every franchise, we are able to get better competition for the national team to select players from. We pick only the best players from each club thus giving the national team what they deserve in terms of quality.” 

The 2024 Rugby Super Series, scheduled across four match days at different venues, commences on Saturday May 4. Buyachi expressed confidence in his team's readiness, despite initial challenges with player availability. 

With seasoned players like Elkeans Musonye, George Okowa, and Philip Owuor, who previously featured in the series, Buyachi believes his squad is well-equipped for the challenge.

Reflecting on his own playing career, Buyachi recalled his stint with the Cheetahs, where victory eluded him. 

“I played for two franchises during my time as a player. I spent four seasons with the Cheetahs. Unfortunately, we did not win anything. I then moved back to Nakuru where I played for Ndovu, winning the 2013 Rugby Super Series title and clinching bronze in 2014.”

However, his move back to Nakuru saw him lift the Rugby Super Series title with Ndovu in 2013. Now, as a coach, Buyachi is instilling the same work ethic and determination in his players, drawn from his experiences on the field.

Having coached at Kabarak University, South Coast Pirates, and Kisumu RFC, Buyachi's tenure at Kisumu RFC culminated in a commendable second-place finish in the 2022/23 KRU Championship season.

 Subsequently, he guided the team to promotion to the Kenya Cup for the 2023/24 season before joining Menengai Oilers as assistant coach under Gibson Weru.

With the Rugby Super Series back in action, Buyachi remains optimistic about its potential to propel Kenya towards Rugby World Cup qualification, driven by a renewed spirit of competition and excellence.