It’s back, and this year it’s bigger and more competitive than ever before; it’s the annual St. Mary’s Blackrock Rugby Festival, East & Central Africa’s biggest high school rugby tournament. With barely two weeks to go before the kickoff, tournament organizers have confirmed a record total of 36 teams (24 boys & 12 girls).
This year’s tournament, the 27th edition, will take place on Saturday, May 15th, at the school’s expansive Landsdown Road field from 9am to 6pm. Bringing together several secondary school rugby teams to show their brawn, resilience and brain, Blackrock is an event that is key in highlighting Kenya's finest rugby talent. The St. Mary’s Blackrock Rugby festival was started way back in 1983 by Father Cormac O’Brachlain, the Headmaster at the time. As always, entrance to the event is free as it continues to foster and grow the popularity of the game of rugby.
The Saints Blackrock festival has for the past 26 years been the nurturing ground of Kenya’s top rugby players. Virtually the entire top creame of Kenya’s rugby elite, past and present, have honed their skills at the prestigious tournament. It is at the Blackrock festival that Kenya’s future rugby stars are identified, nurtured and given the platform to shine. Last year’s MVP and former Saints star play, David Ambunya, 19, (Kenya Harlequins RFC) is testament just how the tournament can elevate a student-athlete’s status in just one short year. This year, the CHAT Awards Teeniez Athlete of the Year winner traded his Saints white & blue strip for that of top Kenyan rugby club Kenya Harlequins RFC. At the culmination of Kenya’s top club rugby tournament, the Kenya Cup, Ambunya was voted MVP in the exhilarating final match between his club and KCB. Other Blackrock Rugby Festival MVP’s include; Allan Hicks, Ian Simiyu and Biko Adema. Who will be this year’s MVP at the St. Mary’s Blackrock festival?
Each game of the round-robin style tournament is twenty minutes, with fast and intense competition. Watching some of the quickest and most agile high school athletes in Kenya’s, spectators are entertained by the fast paced, high scoring games, as well as the electric atmosphere created by the avid fans. This year, 24 of rugby’s heaviest hitters and 12 pioneering girls’ schools will go head to head in an adrenaline-packed tournament.
Tournament coordinator, Mr. Gregory Sang’, expects a tough draw not just for his Saints boys, but for all participating teams. In the words of the sports administrator, “gone are the days when teams would get draws and refer to them as walk over’s – we have seen that on a good day, even schools like Kangaru High can beat any team in the country…”
Teams Confirmed for 2010 Event
Boys’ Teams; St. Mary’s School (2 teams), Upper Hill (2 teams), Strathmore, Nairobi School, Lenana School, Highway, RVA (2 teams), Dagoretti, Mutuini, Muhuri Muchiri, Ofafa Jericho, Jamhuri, Sunshine, Hillcrest, Rosslyn Academy, Ruthimitu, MFA, Mutungoni, Uhuru, NPC, Juja Preparatory
Girls’ Teams; Maono Educational Centre, Raila Educational Centre, State House Girls, Ruthimitu, Hidden Talent Academy, Nile Road, Saint Martins, Precious Blood Girls’, Saint Teresa’s Girls, Buru Buru Girls, Crescent Girls, Nembu Girls