NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Patrice Agunda has been named in the national 15s side that will take part in next week’s Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Cup tournament in Morocco. Agunda who starred in the Junior World Rugby Trophy (JWRT) was delighted with his call up saying that it will help him develop further as a player.
“It’s great to be in the included in the team. Now I just have to work even harder to make the starting line up,” said the Kenya Harlequins centre.
Nondies forward Gray Cullen and Strathmore University halfback Peter Kepha are also the new faces in the side and are joined by national sevens players Leon Adongo and Ben Nyambu who are yet to feature in the fifteens side.
“The national sevens players that we have included are the one’s who are available as the rest opted to recover from a gruelling season,” said coach Michael Otieno who named the team on Thursday.
“The input of the sevens players has been great because they have actually lifted the intensity in training and as well as the competition for places,” added the former Kenay fullback.
Gibson Weru, Victor Oduor and captain Innocent Simiyu have also been included for the mission to Casablanca where they will play Senegal on Wednesday at noon Kenyan time with a win setting them up for an encounter against either hosts Morocco or Cameroon.
“Many people expect us to beat Senegal but we are not taking them lightly. They have several players who ply their trade in France so we expect a tough encounter,” said Otieno.
Asked about their wanting away form over the past few seasons, Otieno said that it was something they had addressed is confident the players will handle the pressure.
He also said that Kenya’s performance at the set piece is still a primary concern for the coaching staff.
“In the warm up games we played against some Kenya Cup sides, we were struggling in that area but I’m confident we can get that right in the remaining training sessions we have,” said Otieno.
Kenya will be using the CAR trophy as build up towards their defence of next month’s Elgon Cup against Uganda.
Team manager Wangila Simiyu said that last week’s team building exercise in Samburu helped the squad a great deal in terms of coming together as a unit.
“As you know we were performing this exercise in a very tough region with harsh climatic conditions which I hope will help the players cope with the pressure they will face in Morroco,” said Simiyu.
Vincent Ongera, Lawrence Buyachi, Vincent Mose, Andrew Amonde, Michael Aung [Vice captain], Gray Cullen, Anthony Ogot, Benedict Nyambu, Charles Kanyi, Innocent Simiyu [Captain], Patrice Agunda, Daniel Kiptoo, Paul Oimbo, Nato Simiyu, Naftali Bondo, Dennis Abenga, Joel Nganga, Leon Adongo, Wilson Kopondo, Edwin Alubaka, Kelvin Omiyo, Gibson Weru