NAIROBI, Kenya, October 1 – National 7s head coach Paul Treu has named six debutants for the opening leg of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series in Gold Coast that runs in the weekend of October 11 and 12 in Australia.
As expected, 18 regular senior players who went on strike before being axed from the squad led by vice captain and Kenya’s record try scorer Collins Injera, did not make the squad after declining to apply for visas.
Long serving Team Manager, Steve Sewe, will also mot make the trip and his role in the technical bench has been taken up by Felix Ochieng who has served as assistant coach.
Strength and conditioning coach, Vuyo Zangqa is now Treu’s number two with Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) silent on the shake-up in the technical bench.
Speaking when releasing the 12-member squad where Andrew Amonde retains the armband, Treu said it will be a challenge for the young players he selected to get the campaign where the top-four finishers after eight World Series round will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics off the ground emphatically.
“We have managed to select a young, but exciting mix of players from the recently concluded local Series and the Safaricom 7s tournament.
“As we are heading into the Olympic Qualifying season, we are under no illusions,” the South African declared on Wednesday.
The team will see teenager Alex Olaba who impressed at this year’s Youth Olympics, Homeboyz’s trio of Michael Wanjala ‘junior’ Bush Mwale and Augustine Lugonzo, KCB forward Jacob Ojee who was the top scorer and most valuable player at the local circuit as well as his club mate Oliver Mang’eni make their first appearance in the IRB circuit.
Among the notable drop outs from the squad that are Strathmore Leos Tony Onyango and Nakuru RFC eighth man Martin Owila who both played in the Safaricom Sevens, the latter missing out on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games for lack of travelling papers in August.
The team will conduct their final training Thursday before departing for a four-day camp in Johannesburg, South Africa then connect to Australia on Monday.
Fly half Biko Adema, Patrice Agunda, Horace Otieno, Oscar Ouma, Philip Wamae, Dan Sikuta, Dennis Ombachi, Billy Odhiambo, Michael Agevi, Tony Owuor, Michael Wanjala, Felix Ayange, Oscar Ayodi, Eden Agero, Sammy Oliech and Lavin Asego are the regulars who were dropped from the squad last week for industrial action.
Former skipper Humphrey Kayange is ruled out with an ankle injury until February.
Andrew Amonde (KCB- Captain), Bush Mwale (Homeboyz), Fabian Olando (KCB), Oliver Mang’eni (KCB), Davis Chenge(Western Bulls), Max Theuri (Lunch Bar Quins) , Michael Wanjala(Homeboyz) , Cyprian Kuto( Strathmore Leos) , Augustine Lugonzo (Homeboyz) , Jacob Ojee (KCB) , Leonard Mugaisi (Homeboyz) , Alex Olaba (Strathmore Leos)
Management: Paul Treu (Head Coach), Vuyo Zangqa (Assistant Coach), Graham Bentz (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Felix Ochieng’ (Team Manager), Lameck Bogonko (Physiotherapist)