Rwanda national rugby team captain Jean de Dieu Hakizimana has called upon the local rugby ruling body, RRF, to organize more international friendly matches to help the players gain exposure.
Hakizimana says that the Silverbacks can only improve and be able to compete in international tournaments, if they get opportunities to face regional teams such as Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi – this way the players would gain competitiveness.
Rwanda rugby had stagnated over the past couple of years until the appointment of Alex Araire, a former player to lead the national rugby federation with the aim to revamp the sport.
The national team has just returned from Lusaka, Zambia where they failed to qualify for the 2018 IB Africa Rugby tournament that will take place in Morocco.
“We were all disappointed with how we played in Zambia, you could see that the boys are good but they lack the exposure to play in big games,” Hakizimana told Times Sport.
He urged the federation to organize more friendlies against better sides like Kenya and Uganda for the players to learn from the more experienced and higher ranked opposition.
The captain noted that, “We need a strong team that can compete in regional and continental competitions and you cannot gain that competitive advantage if you have not actually competed at the level before.”
RRF secretary general, Alex Kamanda, agreed with the national team captain, stating that one of the key things they want to embark on this year, is to organize international friendlies.
“The national football team does it every time they have a big match and this helps them to get better prepared, so the same can be done for rugby if we want our team to improve and be able to compete favourably,” he stated.