SportsKenya: (Bamburi) Rugby Super Series 2012 is marking the 10th anniversary this year. Give us a review of what the journey has been since its inception
Herbert Mwachiro: 10 years of Super Series has seen it grow from a 4- team Kenyan event to an 8- team East African tourney mainly competed between Kenya and Uganda whilst Tanzania have participated twice.
SK: What would you say has been Kenya Rugby Union’s involvement?
HM: They are the owners of the tournament so their support is very much evident
SK: Successes and challenges in the last decade
HM: Competitive rugby, expansion into Uganda and development of universities, Western Kenya and Coast franchises. This tournament has developed players that have benefitted the national teams in both Kenya and Uganda.
SK: The game of rugby has grown in leaps and bounds but there has been concern over the 15-a-side game. Do you think the Bamburi Rugby Super Series would address such concerns?
HM: Definitely as competition becomes stiffer and players and officials forced to raise their game.
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SK: What do you think ails the 15-a-side game and what are the remedies?
HM: There is need for more supportive technical structures in the form of qualified coaches at the grassroots level that will see players develop skills at an earlier age
SK: Kenya Rugby Union events including the Bamburi Rugby Super Series seem to attract quite some good corporate sponsorship, what would you attribute this to?
HM: Rugby is the fastest growing sport in Kenya and globally and the game has a lot of goodwill at present especially with Kenya being Africa champions.
SK: In addition to sponsorships, KRU events have attracted quite some interest from media houses including the SuperSport live screening of the Bamburi Super Series, Elgon Cup and even Safari Sevens. Your thoughts on this?
HM: This is positive for the game and will definitely receive more corporate support giving the sport much-needed finances in the long run and television exposure for players seeking to professional careers.
SK: Still in rugby, what are your thoughts about the 7s game?
HM: We (Kenya) have done well to compete at that level given the gap in resources with the more established teams. We need to consolidate those gains. Reaching the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup was a big feat and honour that should not be forgotten. Those players gave it their all to reach there.
SK: Kenya Rugby Union has been a fairly successful sports organization. What would other sports associations and related organizations learn from KRU?
HM: (The need for) dedicated and committed officials who have true love of the sport.
SK: Sports organizations in Kenya have not learnt how to use or leverage their sports with the media, e.g. the ongoing Volleyball club championships .What would you advise them?
HM: It is important that they incorporate into their organisations’ individuals with rich sports marketing experience in Kenya and they are there; tough (getting them since they’re) extremely few!
SK: Comment on the following;
Proposed Sports Bill
HM: This needs to happen like yesterday and with proper input from sports stakeholders
Rugby 7s at the Olympics
Safari 7 s in the IRB Sevens World circuit
HM: IRB tournaments are usually played at sea level but the IRB should be lobbied to make one exception in the near future.
SK: What is the future of the Bamburi Rugby Super Series, especially since next year marks a decade since the launch of the tournament in East Africa?
HM: This is the 10th Edition and the future is bright.
SK: The future of rugby both 7s and 15s in Kenya?
HM: We are no longer treated as underdogs and should therefore invest more in our players and facilities and structures. The only way is up.