Rugby Africa postpones U20 Barthés Trophy tournament due to coronavirus

Rugby Ball Laying in Grass (Photo by Franck Seguin/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
The 2020 edition of the continental youth tournament, the Under-20 Barthés Trophy, scheduled for April 19, 22 and 26 in Nairobi, Kenya will be held at a later date. (Photo by Franck Seguin/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The Under-20 Barthés Trophy tournament which was due to take place in the Kenyan capital Nairobi has been postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Rugby Africa announced on Tuesday.

The tournament was scheduled to take place on April 19, 22 and 26.

Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou said the decision was taken in consultation with World Rugby and the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) following the government ban on all meetings, conferences and events of international nature in Kenya.

“As much as Rugby Africa, the host and most of all the young players are looking forward to the continental U20 competition in Nairobi, we need to take every precaution we possibly can from our side to protect our players and support the fight against the Coronavirus as set out by the authorities. The tournament is not canceled, but only postponed to a later date which we will communicate in due time,” a statement from Rugby Africa read in part.

KRU chairman Odour Gangla said the union fully supported the action taken to ensure the safety and welfare of the tournament’s participants.

“We support Rugby Africa and the Kenyan authorities in their protective measures to our best abilities and therefore fully support the decision to postpone the U20 Barthés Trophy.”

As of Thursday, Kenya’s Ministry of Health said it has not recorded any suspected or confirmed case of the coronavirus.

The Barthes Trophy is the only national-level junior rugby tournament in Africa, with eight national U20 teams competing for the title.

The teams in the 2020 tournament are hosts and defending champions Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Namibia, Senegal, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.