NAIROBI, Kenya, June 2 – Kenya Sevens star Willy Ambaka has signed for New Zealand outfit the Manawatu Turbos.
Having signed Varsity fullback Te Rangatira Waitokia earlier this week, the Turbos have added another outside back Ambaka to the squad.
Ambaka, 27, wants to hone his 15s skills, after showing the world what he can do in the faster and shorter version of the game, having competed in the Rio Olympic Games and was part of the Kenya Sevens successful team that won the first ever Main Cup leg in Singapore in 2016.
“I’m most comfortable on the right wing, but I’m looking at this as a learning experience,” Ambaka said. “It’s always good to have a change of environment,” Ambaka who initially had visa issues, but now has been signed said.
The man they call the Kenyan Lomu is no stranger to the longer version of the game, having scored six tries in 10 games for Lyon as he helped them win promotion to the French Top 14.
In 2013 he was a finalist for World Rugby’s sevens player of the year award, won by New Zealander Tim Mikkelson, and he went to the Rio Olympics with the Kenyan sevens team in 2016.
He spent a season playing division two rugby in France 2013-14 for Lyon. He also played for Western Province in South Africa’s Currie Cup before returning to the sevens circuit.
Even with all his sevens achievements, Ambaka has 15s aspirations.
“Super Rugby is definitely the goal, but I’m just really looking forward to putting in some good performances for the Turbos.”
Ambaka will play club rugby for Feilding Old Boys-Oroua and will play against Freyberg on Saturday.