NAIROBI, Kenya, January 27 – Rugby 15s head coach Jerome Paarwater, has named 14 new faces in a provisional squad of 40 that will represent the country at the Vodacom Cup in South Africa that starts in March.
Speaking while unveiling the team on Monday, the former Western Province tactician said they will use the three month-long tournament to prepare for the June Confederation of African Rugby Cup (CAR) Cup in Madagascar that will serve as a qualifier for 2015 World Cup to be held in England.
“We all know the national 7s team put Kenya on the limelight, but I think the vision that Kenya Rugby Union has is to get the 15s running because it forms the big part of the game in the country.
“We are making a step further in going to South Africa to play the Vodacom Cup,” Paarwater, who coached South African side Western Province for three years, said.
The players were picked after three-day trials that saw over 80 turn up at Nairobi’s Barclays Sports Ground and team manager, Wangila Simiyu, was pleased with the number that enabled them to select 14 newcomers.
“This is the year where we have the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup, and in the last three months we broke camp so that we can pick fresh talents and see if there is any addition we can make to the team since Vodacom is very tasking.
“For us it’s a big thing because it’s a turning point for the game and we are sure when the boys come back they will be ready for the CAR Cup,” the team manager stated.
Paarwarter added he anticipates taking the strongest squad to Madagascar and will include some of the national 7s team players to bolster the squad as the country seeks to participate at the World Cup for the first time.
“There is always an opportunity for guys to join the team and the door is open, as we have included every body including all the coaches to be part of selecting panel because they know the best players.
“The 7s players will train with the squad once in a while so that they can adopt the new structures,” Paawarter added.
The team that leaves for South Africa March 2, will be trimmed to 30 two weeks before departure.
This is the first time the country is participating in the prestigious 16 nations tournament.
Kenya will play Namibia in the first match at the CAR Cup, before taking on host Madagascar and Zimbabwe in the round robin format, with the winner booking a berth to represent the continent at next years global showpiece in England.
PROVISIONAL SQUAD (debutants marked nc)
1. Joseph Kangethe – NONDIES
2. James Kangethe – NONDIES
3. Curtis Lilakho – KCB
4. Duncan Mwangi – IMPALA (nc)
5. Steve Wakaya – KCB (nc)
6. Hillary Omido – WESTERN BULLS (nc)
7. Musa Amusala – KCB
1. Sam Warui – NAKURU
2. Max Adaka – KCB
3. Edwin Aseko – HARLEQUINS (nc)
1. Wilson K’Opondo – HARLEQUINS
2. Oliver Mageni – KCB
3. Ronnie Mwenesi – NONDIES
4. Tony Mutai – HARLEQUINS
5. Emmanuel Mavala – HOMEBOYZ (nc)
1. Brian Nyikuli – STRATHMORE
2. Philip Kwame – NAKURU (nc)
3. Edwin Makori – NAKURU (nc)
4. Mike Okombe – NAKURU
5. David Mogere – HARLEQUINS
1. Joshua Chisanga – HOMEBOYZ
2. Lawrence Buyachi – NAKURU
3. Martin Owila – NAKURU (nc)
1. Lyle Asiligwa – HARLEQUINS
2. Edwin Achayo – HARLEQUINS
3. Max Theuri – HARLEQUINS (nc)
1. Ken Andola – STRATHMORE
2. Isaac Adimu – HARLEQUINS
3. Eden Agero– HARLEQUINS
1. Nick Baraza – HARLEQUINS
2. AustineGumu– HOMEBOYZ (nc)
1. Dennis Muhanji – HARLEQUINS
2. Alvin Otieno – WESTERN BULLS (nc)
1. Leon Adongo – IMPALA
2. Cyprian Kuto – STRATHMORE
3. Darwin Mukidza – KCB
4. Leonard Mugaisi – HOMEBOYZ
1. Vincent Mose – IMPALA
2. Tony Onyango– STRATHMORE
3. Jacob Ojee – KCB (nc)