NAIROBI, June 16 – Strathmore Leos back, Samuel Motari will make his national 15s debut on Saturday after he was included by head coach Jerome Paarwater in the final 25-man squad to face Spain on Saturday.
The Simbas will lock horns with their higher-ranked European visitors in an International World Rugby (WR) Test match at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds.
Team manager, Wangila Simiyu who unveiled the team on Thursday, said a win against the Spaniards who are ranked 10 places above them in WR rankings, will be a major boost ahead of their final Africa Cup match away to World Cup bound, Namibia on August 8.
Simba, who enter the match after demolishing Tunisia 46-15 in their second Africa Cup fixture fortnight ago, hope to overcome Namibia who have played a match less to increase chances of reclaiming the continental title.
Against Spain, they intend to exploit wide play to punish the visitors on the counter just as they did against Portugal in their first Test where they ran riot in a 41-15 win in May.
“We know we are capable of beating Spain because technically our boys are athletic. We have studied their previous matches on video and the only way we can take them on is by spreading the ball wide.
“With fewer mistakes, we will have an upper hand since they have a quick back-line that that can punish us.
“We have improved on our support play which was poor against Tunisia, so expect an outstanding performance from the boys because this is a Lion’s Den, we expect to maul them,” the Team Manager declared.
Skipper, Brian Nyikuli was content with changes made to the squad saying they will bolster experience, especially the return of his predecessor, Wycliffe Kopondo, who will be starting on the bench.
Kopondo makes a comeback since Kenya’s 10-28 loss to Zimbabwe in a Rugby World Cup qualifier last year.
“Our aim is to improve with each game but pressure is inevitable because everyone will be looking up on us. The mood in camp is okay, we don’t have injuries. We are just waiting to get to the field, do our best and make Kenyans happy,” Nyikuli pledged.
Motari starts ahead of KCB’s Fabian Olando while Scrum half Edwin Achayo returns from a long injury layoff to replace Kenya Harlequin’s Lyle Asiligwa who is recovering from an arm injury sustained against Tunisia.
Other tactical changes will see Impala RFC’s Sammy Oliech move from full back to fly half, swapping with club mate Vincent Mose.
Moses Amusala, Oliver Mang’eni, Jacob Ojee, Darwin Mukidza, Peter Karia, Curtis Lilako (KCB), Samuel Warui, Isaiah Nyariki, Lawrence Buyachi, Michael Okombe, Kelvin Omiyo, (Top Fry Nakuru), Samuel Oliech, Vincent Mose, Robert Aringo, (Impala RFC), Brian Nyikuli, Samuel Motari (Strathmore Leos), Wilson Kopondo, Dennis Muhanji, Isaac Adimo ( Kenya Harlequin), Joshua Chisanga (Homeboyz), Edwin Achayo (Kabras Sugar), Davis Chenge ( Western Bulls), Ronnie Mwenesi (Total Nondies),
Head Coach: Jerome Paarwater
Assistant Coaches: Charles Ngovi, Dominique Habimana
Strength & Conditioning: Richard Ochieng
Physio: Chris Makachia
Team Manager: Simiyu Wangila