Tunisia national rugby team on Wednesday continued with their preparation for an upcoming Africa Gold Cup against Kenya Simbas at the RFUEA Grounds on Saturday 4 August starting 2pm.
Tunisia, placed fourth in the six-nation Africa Gold cup pool, had two session in Nairobi on Wednesday - both at RFUEA - as they gear up to face the second placed Simbas.
21 players are in Nairobi all of whom will be named for the match by head coach Jaco Stouman whom we caught up with.
“I only know Kenya through what I have seen on Television. I don’t know if some of their Sevens players are playing on Saturday but they look a good team, they have a good coach. You can see it has been working out for them. For us it will be a challenge but we are up for it.”
Tunisia will face Kenya seven days after going down 67-12 to Uganda in Kampala a result that dealt them a huge blow.
“Against Uganda we made some silly mistakes; last night I was watching the game again. Four tries of the Seven they scored we just gave them the opportunity to run at us so we need to look at the ball better, our defense system needs to be spot on. Everybody needs to do his job in defense and once that happens then it’s better for the whole team.”
Tunisia return to face a Kenyan side they lost 100-10 to at the same venue last year but Stouman has not been thinking about 2017.
“I know about the score last year. I watched on Television but we are not talking about that score. For us it’s about playing our kind of game, putting our structure on the game and preventing them (Kenya) from having the ball. Once you do that then the team cannot score any point.”
The 2018 Africa Gold Cup is doubling up as qualification for 2019 Rugby World Cup where competition’s winner will head to Japan as Africa 1. Runners up will however head to a four-team global repechage in France during the November tests window.
As it stands, Tunisia are fourth with four points one ahead of fifth and sixth placed Zimbabwe and Morocco. They trail Uganda by a point and Kenya by eight.
“I think mathematically coming second is out of equation for us so it’s about young guys to gain experience. Playing against Kenya and quality front rows, second rows, backline is experience guys are gaining. It’s about trying to do our structure on the pitch and get ready for next year and the other years.”
Among those named in the squad is captain Saif Boussaada, Dhia Zen Dhiab and Sahbi Dhif.
After playing Uganda, Salem Khanfous returned to France to rejoin his French based club, Valence Agen while Eddine Khalifa couldn’t travel to East Africa due to passport hitches.
1.Chelly Haythem 2.Mohamed Ben Yassine 3.Saif Boussaada 4.Jakni Chedi 5.Nassin Nuzan 6.Nabri Ahmed 7.Dhia Izen Dhiab 8.Hamdi El Mechri 9.Hayder Nasrallah 10.Meher Amamou 11.Sahbi Dhif 12.Achraf Dhif 13.Mohamed Ali Gafci 14.Houssem Khalfi 15.Eddine Hamila 16.Yahia Gras 17.Amir Ksontini 18.Imed Hasnawi 19.Isam Warhani 20.Rathwen Hammami 21.Sami Mensi