The Kenya Under-20 team have been drawn in a tough pool ahead of the Junior Rugby World Trophy slated for July in Brazil.
Kenya will face Uruguay, Japan and either USA or Canada in the three-week event expected to provide a stern test for Paul Odera’s charges.
Uruguay have been regular participants in the tournament since 2013 while Japan who were relegated from the World Cup Under- 20 category after finishing bottom in last year’s edition in France, have had impressive performances in the Junior Rugby Trophy, finishing second in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and were fourth in 2013.
Canada took part in the second tier world competition from 2010 to 2018, while the USA competed in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016 editions.
Pool ‘A’ comprises hosts Brazil, 2018 bronze medal winners Portugal, Tonga, who finished second in 2014 and Hong Kong, who have been to all editions of this event since 2013.
The Kenyan side, also known as Chipu, will be making their second appearance at the JWRT after making their debut on home soil in 2009.
Kenya qualified for the world event after upsetting holders Namibia 21-18 last month in the Africa qualifiers at the Lion’s Den in Ruaraka.
Coach Odera termed the pool competitive and urged Kenyans to rise to the occasion if they are to get to the latter stages of the competition.
“Uruguay have the experience of playing in the competition for several years, Japan won’t be pushovers and Irrespective of who qualifies between USA or Canada, both teams are good teams and therefore, we must be at our best in all the three matches,” added Odera.
Kenya started training two weeks ago with Gym sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and skill sessions on Sundays.
Last month, Odera said they need build-up matches in order to be competitive at the event. The team is expected to train for the next two months before departing to Brazil on July 2.