Rugby Rugby

Simbas hope to make most of South Africa camp

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The Kenyan national 15-a-side rugby team celebrates after winning the 2016 Elgon Cup. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – The national rugby 15s team will head out to South Africa early Friday morning for a nine-day training camp ahead of a tough calendar that will culminate in the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Twenty nine of the 36 players named for this year’s duties have been included in the travelling squad to be skippered by KCB flanker Davis Chenge.

Team manager Wangila Simiyu expects them to reap heavily tactically and technically just like they did when playing the Vodacom Cup in 2014.

“When we began playing in the Vodacom Cup, we saw the exposure and experience it gave us. It gave us a lot of edge and the results were visible especially last season where we only lost one game,” Simiyu said as he unveiled the squad to South Africa on Thursday.

He added; “Playing there gave our boys confidence they can do it in higher levels and as we head to South Africa, we hope to polish up a few areas,” the team manager added.

Among those in the 36 left behind include Wilson Kopondo who was confirmed as the overall Simbas captain for the season as well as Darwin Mukidza who will be his assistant.

While Kopondo will miss the training camp due to work commitments, Mukidza is on the road for Paris and London 7s with the Kenya 7s.

As part of the training in Western Cape, the Simbas will play a test match against local side Durbell RFC.

“We will fine tune the team and panel beat in terms of weak areas. We are looking at set pieces in srum and also looking to work on the centers on their strength and conditioning,” Simiyu said.

The team will return to the country on May 21, just a week before they play Germany in an international test match at the RFUEA ground.

Kenya Simbas played Hong Kong in a test match in 2016 and will face them again in 2017, ahead of the Rugby World Cup QUalifiers. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The match will mark the start of Kenya’s International Rugby season. The Simbas will also face it out with Hong Kong in a two match series; the first fixture being Saturday 19th August and the second fixture on Saturday 26th August.

The Kenya-Germany match will also set the tone for the Simbas Rugby Africa Gold Cup campaign with home fixtures against Uganda on June 24th, Tunisia on 8th July, Senegal on 15th July before playing away to Zimbabwe on 22nd July and Namibia on 29th July.

If Kenya manages to earn a ticket to the Rugby World Cup after agonizingly coming close in 2015, they will be pooled alongside heavyweights South Africa and New Zealand with the draw having been conducted on Wednesday.

Full Simbas squad to South Africa

Forwards:

Moses Amusala (KCB), George Asin (KCB), Dennis Karani ( Impala Saracens), Simon Muniafu (Impala Saracens), Davis Chenge (KCB), Eric Kerre (Impala Saracens),  James Kubasu (Impala Saracens), Peter Karia (KCB), Bramwell Mayaka (Homeboyz), Philip Ikambili (Menengai Cream Homeboyz),Oscar Simiyu (KCB), George Nyambua(Kabras Sugar),Ronnie Mwenesi (Nondescripts), Emmanuel Mavala (Homeboyz), Elkeans Musonye (Strathmore Leos), Martin Owila (KCB).

Backs:

Samson Onsomu (Impala Saracens), Biko Adema (Nondescripts), Dennis Muhanji, Patrice Agunda (Quins), Leo Seje (Impala Saracens), Tony Onyango (Homeboyz), Kelvin Masai (Homeboyz), Isaac Adimo (Quins), Jacob Ojee (KCB),Brad Owako (Mwamba), David Ambunya (Quins), Alex Olaba (Strathmore Leos), Peter Kilonzo (KCB).

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