Kenya and Zimbabwe will take part in South Africa’s Currie Cup this season as the two countries prepare for the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers later this year.
Kenya’s Simba and Zimbabwe’s Sables will be part of an eight-team African qualifying tournament to be held in France in July, with only the winners guaranteed a place in next year’s final.
Before that, the pair will compete in the Currie Cup Premier League, the second tier of local competition in South Africa, which is due to start in April and end in June.
The two African nations will be joined by Rugby Europe Championship side Georgia and seven local provincial teams; defending champions Leopards, Griffons, South West Districts, Boland, Eastern Province, Frontier and Valke.
Kenya are seeking their first-ever World Cup appearance, having narrowly missed out on a place in Japan in 2019.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will be aiming to qualify for the third time, having featured in the first two editions of the tournament in 1987 and 1991.
If either nation qualifies for the World Cup, they will be in Pool A alongside hosts France, three-time winners New Zealand, Italy and Italy. Uruguay.
The finalists from the African qualifiers in July will have another shot at reaching the World Cup via a final four-team tournament in November.