The Kenya Rugby Football Union's board has approved the expansion of the annual four-team Super Series rugby tournament to comprise seven teams following the inclusion of franchises from Uganda and Tanzania, local Daily Naiton reported on Thursday.
The board meeting also approved moving the Series from its original date of March to April to allow for better preparations in what is turning out to be the highlight rugby tournament of the year.
As a result, the Kenya Cup and Eric Shirley Shield's kick-off dates have moved forward from April 7 to March 3 to accommodate the changes.
Kenya Rugby Football Union development manager, Fred Ollows, said the expansion of the Bamburi-sponsored Super Series meant more time was needed to successfully organise the tournament.
Uganda will provide two sides while Tanzania will have one side.
"Their inclusion means some matches will be held in Tanzania and others in Uganda. The final, however, will be hosted in Nairobi," Ollows said.
He said Tanzania Rugby Union president Tinus Aucamp had confirmed sponsorship of 1.5 million Kenyan shillings (about 21,000 U.S. dollars) for the Tanzania side.
The Super Series, now in its seventh year, has normally involved the top hundred players in Kenya divided into four representative sides. At its inception, the tournament's purpose was to raise funds for the game while at the same time acting as a pathway for players seeking national team call-ups.
The tournament will give national selectors ample opportunity to assess probable call-ups for the up-coming international fixtures.
Kenya has four scheduled matches this season, the Elgon Cup versus Uganda on May 19 and two Confederation of African Football Cup ties against Morocco on June 23 and Cameroon on July 21.