France will become the first full member European nation to travel to Kenya when they play two men’s senior internationals in Nairobi in December for world ranking points. The matches, on the second and fifth of the month, will take place at the Impala Rugby Stadium in the capital (kick off 3pm and 4pm respectively, local time).
Kenya RLF chair, Richard Adhere Nyakwaka, said: “It’s a great, historic moment for Kenya rugby league to host the French national team, this will serve as an inspiration to our local development and promote the growth of player numbers in all regions of Kenya. KRLF aims to further strengthen its relations with the French embassy and community in Kenya as a result.”
Nyakwaka paid a visit to the French Embassy in Nairobi where deputy ambassador Lionel Fabre formally announced and confirmed the significance of the matches. “I am proud to announce that the French Rugby League team will play Kenya and this is based on the great partnership between the federations of both countries,” noted Fabre.
“This will be the first time for both teams to play together and I’m sure there will be a great audience to attend the matches. Playing France will definitely open a mighty window of opportunity for the Kenya Rugby League national team to play high-level international matches.”
Nyakwaka continued: “This partnership goes a long way in showcasing the friendship between our country and France. The agreement next year is that it will be home and away. We hope that by the time we get to 2025 we will have our women’s teams involved, and also our U18s.”
France head coach for the tour, Maxime Grésèque, has named a strong 20-man squad. “Playing time will be given to a rejuvenated squad whose players are all from the Elite championship,” he confirmed. “Kenya is a nation that needs game time and is keen to play against teams in the world’s Top 10 to progress.
“These two matches will be a real challenge for both teams, our objective is to be able to integrate these players into the France group with its playing philosophy and principles. All the players and staff are looking forward to being in Nairobi and to facing the Kenyans for the first time.”