Rugby Rugby

Amonde to captain Gold Coast 7s squad

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 5-Andrew Amonde is the new national sevens team captain as head coach, Mike Friday, named his first HSBC World Series squad for the circuit opener in Gold Coast, Australia.

Amonde, the KCB RFC forward, takes over from Sidney Ashioya who will not feature in the largely youthful outfit unveiled on Friday in Nairobi with Collins Injera, Biko Adema, Horace Otieno, Oscar Ouma and William Ambaka the regulars from last season who made the cut.

Safaricom Safari 7s sensation, Dennis Ombachi, Cyprian Kuto, Michael Wanjala,
Eden Agero, Dennis Ambuya and Davis Chenge complete the travelling squad with Patrice Agunda, Philip Wamae, Dennis Muhanji and Fabian Olando placed as reserves.

“There are three or four players we have left behind that could have made this team especially in the forward role where we have stiff competition. This is the kind of headache I need where there is intense difficulty to come up with the final 12,” the former England coach Friday expressed.

Incidentally, he will come up against the side he coached until 2006 in the October 13 Pool C opener in Australia after ending his career as a long-time captain having been drawn to Kenya from the television pundit box by the excitement of coaching a side he admired.

“My aim will be to do everything to win a game of rugby against England who have far more superior structures, the tradition and budget. My record there speaks for itself and who came after has his own,” Friday told of his clash against his former employers.

“We have made changes in this team and many do not know what to expect from Kenya and that is the exciting thing against this team. My aim is to qualify for the Main Cup quarters in our first outing then build on from there.

“Ultimately, retaining our core status by finishing way above 12th in the series and playing for silverware is the goal for this side but we should not expect much since we are only ten weeks into the new project,” he explained.

Friday also announced former skipper and leading try scorer, Humphrey Kayange would be available for the second and third legs of the series in Dubai and George, South Africa but he would not walk in straight into the side.

“He needs to work on his conditioning and fitness at Bristol University to get at the same level with the rest of the squad. We tested him at Safari 7s and he realises he has work to do and he is willing to do it,” the head coach underpinned.

He has a benchmark on building on from the 40 points Kenya tallied at the 2011/2012 World Series that was the lowest tally in six seasons as the country flirted to lose her status as a core side.

“Every year from now will see teams relegated and we must work to ensure that we cement our status as an elite side through development structures we have put in place. For now, we cannot say we have moved far since we must start with the coaching before ensuring a consistent stream of quality players.”

The team is expected back from Australia on October 17 before preparing for the back-to-back legs in Dubai (November 30 and December 1) and George (December 8 and 9).

SQUAD

Andrew Amonde (captain), Oscar Ouma, Davis Chenge, Horace Otieno, David Ambuya, Eden Agero, Michael Wanjala, Biko Adema, Collins Injera, William Ambaka, Dennis Ombachi, Cyprian Kuto.

Non travelling reserves: Patrice Agunda, Phillip Wamae. Dennis Muhanji, Fabian Olando

Management: Mike Friday (head coach), Felix Ochieng (assistant coach), Christopher Brown (strength and conditioning coach), George Odhiambo (physio), Steve Sewe (Team Manager)

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