NAIROBI, Kenya, June 6 – National 15s head coach Jerome Paarwater, has named seven 7s players in his starting line up for Saturday’s test match against South African titans Western Province at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds.
Three siblings Humphrey Kayange, Collins Injera and Michael Agevi headline the squad that also includes Michael Wanjala and Patrice Agunda.
Skipper Andrew Amonde, Tony Awuor and Billy Odhiambo will start from the bench with Wilson Kopondo retaining the arm band.
Also in the team is French based winger Willy Ambaka who scored eight tries for his side Lyon to see them gain promotion to the top flight league.
“We have selected our strongest squad and apart from the 7s players, others were part of the team that featured in the Vodacom Cup in South Africa.
“This year’s CAR Cup competition in Madagascar will be tough because the three teams we are going to meet are the best in Africa. There is a big difference compared to last year where we won against underdogs.
“For now our focus is to perform well in Madagascar where we must win all our matches to retain the title and qualify for World Cup next year,” the South African declared when unveiling a 31 man squad on Friday.
“The experience the boys picked from Vodacom Cup will help us perform better since they were exposed against professional teams. The team bonded well and that’s why I’m confident of retaining the trophy.
“The 7s guys coming on board is quite exiting so it’s upon us to see how we can make things happen,” he added.
The last time the two sides met was at the Vodacom Cup where Kenya went down 65-29 but Province head coach John Dobson, believes it will be an entreating and tough encounter this time round.
“The match will not be easy because Kenya has really improved. When they came in the Vodacom Cup everybody expected them to lose all their matches but from what we saw there is something special happening to the team.
“Both sides play attractive rugby rather than the boring kicking game and for Kenya they are good in the scrum because they are physically fit and we play open game so we expect a cracker,” Dobson sated.
The hosts will be using the tie as a build up for their Confederation of African Rugby Division 1A championships in Madagascar this month, which also serves as the continental qualifiers for next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Kenya will take on Namibia, hosts Madagascar and Zimbabwe in the round robin format with the winner booking a ticket to the global showpiece.
The fixture will be preceded by the Bamburi Rugby Super Series final pitting Nguvu Papa against UAP Kifaru in an early kick-off.
Papa that features players from KCB, Mwamba and Homeboyz will be looking to continue with their unbeaten run and lift the trophy after beating Kifaru 8-6 in their Group B opener.
However, as assistant coach John Mbai says they will have to tighten their defence since their opponents who comprise players from the University sides have a good pace.
“We will be taking our winning ways to the finals and hope to come out with positive results. We will have to control the break down since that’s where the game is won; if we are able to maintain consistency in the defence I believe we will carry the day.
“We can’t afford any lapses since this is a final, we are good in the line outs and scrum and we know how they play so we will lock them out,” Mbai told Capital Sport.
For Kifaru, their head coach, Charles Ngovi, will be going for revenge, “Every game has its own merit and obviously Papa will be a different prospect especially considering we played them and they beat us so I know they are confident.
“We are determined to go and overturn the results but in sports everyone comes to compete and the result can go either way,” the Lunch Bar Quins head coach stated.
Kifaru who will be making their first ever final appearance in the regional tournament, cannot be ruled out especially after showing a great character in edging out champions Ndovu.
Papa will rely on the likes of Bush Mwale, Jacob Ojee, Brian Sagara and Louis Kisia to secure the trophy.
The students on the other hand have in their ranks drop kick specialist Harun Lubisia who has bagged three goals so far in the competition, George Mutuku and Rocky Aguko as they seek to end up on the correct side of the score sheet.
Kenya line up for Western Province
1. Moses Amusala, 2.Sammy Warui, 3.James Kangethe, 4.Oliver Mang’eni, 5.Wilson Kopondo (captain), 6.Michael Okombe, 7. Davis Chenge, 8. Martin Owila, 9. Michael Wanjala, 10.Lavin Asego, 11.William Ambaka, 12.Patrice Agunda, 13.Humphrey Kayange, 14.Collins Injera, 15.Michael Agevi.
REPLACEMENTS: 16.Duncan Mwangi, 17.Curtis Lilako, 18.Isaiah Nyariki, 19.Emmanuel Mavala, 20.Ronnie Mwenesi, 21.Brian Nyikuli, 22.Andrew Amonde, 23.Tony Owuor, 24.Lyle Asiligwa, 25.Kenny Andola, 26.Billy Odhiambo, 27.Nick Barasa, 28.Fabian Olando, 29.Leonard Mugaisi, 30.Tony Onyango, 31.Cyprian Kuto.