Cullen in Sevens squad

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 21- The worst kept secret in Kenya rugby is finally out with Grey Cullen the notable inclusion in the national sevens squad for next month’s Commonwealth Games.Cullen forced his way into the side on the back of strong performances for Shujaa in the Middlesex and Castle Sevens in Zambia where he captained the side.

“He’s quite skillful with his hands and he’s a proper backrower who’s got quite a bit of speed as well. We expect him to bring stability in the forwards,” said national coach Benjamin Ayimba.

Veteran Innocent Simiyu has been dropped to the non traveling reserves bench alongside his brother Victor Sudi and Ben Nyambu.

“Namcos (Innocent) is in form but he has not been training with the national team,” said Ayimba.

Wilson Kopondo and Andrew Amonde made the cut after being on the fringes of the squad last season while Leon Adongo has been rewarded for a strong showing in the closing stages of Kenya’s campaign in the 2009-2010 International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Series.

“It’s always a very proud moment to play for your country especially in tournaments like the Olympics and the Commonwealth. Our minimum is getting into the medal bracket as well as gunning for the gold medal,” said Ayimba.

Kenya clinched the bowl title in Melbourne four years ago after a 26-12 win over Tonga.

Humphrey Kayange and company have been drawn in Pool A with defending IRB Series champions Samoa, Uganda and Papua New Guinea.

“Samoa of course are a tough nutter but everyone comes to the Games with guns blazing so we can’t look down upon anyone. Given that everyone knows our performance on such occasions it’s going to be a tough tournament for us,” said Ayimba.

The former Kenya captain thinks the absence of legendary Samoa playmaker Uale Mai will do little to dampen the potency of the Pacific Islanders.

“A team is an institution so any individual should be able to step up to the occasion whenever he’s called up to play because what drives is the success that team has had in the past. So we expect as much fire,” said Ayimba.

The team departs for India on October 4.

Squad:

Humphrey Kayange (captain), Brian Nyikuli, Wilson Kopondo, Andrew Amonde, Grey Cullen, Sidney Ashioya, Gibson Weru, Lavin Asego, Collins Injera, Biko Adema, Horace Owiti, Leon Adongo.

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