Kenya Rugby Union has selected 12 university students to form a team that will compete at this years Safari Sevens tournament. The Uni select side was hurriedly formed to replace Harlequins Rugby Club, the overall winners of the national sevens circuit.
The decision to exclude Harlequins from the tournament has been a controversial one seeing that the national sevens champions have traditionally being slotted to play at Safari Sevens.
Union Chair, Mwangi Muthee, dispelled claims that internal politics in the sport were responsible for the decision that has sparked debate.
“As a Union, we look at the bigger picture and when we invite teams, we look at our development strategy. Inviting the combined universities squad is part of this strategy since some of the players who were not visible in the league can have their chance,” Muthee said.
But the university combine team may be out of their depth at the tournament because they have not trained since they were called up on Monday. The players were selected from clubs and Varsity sides.
Tournament chairman, Sasha Mutai, says there is a misconception that the winner of the Kenyan circuit must be represented at the Safari Sevens. Out of the last 16 editions, the Kenyan champs have appeared in only five.
“We have given these players from the university combined who played in France this year and we are giving them an opportunity to hone their skills at the highest level,” explained Sasha.
The Uni combine has been pooled in group 4 alongside South Africa Elite team, Zambia and Portugal.
Full Varsity Combined team
Peter Kepher Strathmore Uni – Captain
Ken Isindu UoN – Vice Captain
Maurice Mbai Strathmore
Adrian Opondi Strathmore
Rocky Agucko KU
Dennis Omusula UoN
Edwin Salamba KU
Joel Maingi UoN
Elphas Manya UoN
Samuel Muturi Strathmore
Bonface Adabu KU
Coach Tank Otieno
Team Manger Wangila Simiyu