Rugby Rugby

Simbas ready to battle Uganda in Elgon Cup

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Kenya Simbas players walk up the pitch during their international testmatch against Germany at the RFUEA Grounds on May 27. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

KAMPALA, Uganda, Jun 9 – Kenya 15s Head Coach Jerome Paarwater expects Uganda to come hard at his charges when the two sides face off in the first leg Elgon Cup action at the Legends Rugby Club in Kampala on Saturday.

Speaking on Friday less than 24 hours before the huge clash Paarwater said he expects a tough duel which will open up the way for the Rugby Africa Gold Cup with the return tie against Uganda in a fortnight also doubling up as a cup game.

“We want tough games. Hopefully Uganda can come hard at us on Saturday. We were fortunate to have the game against Germany, as well as the training camp in Cape Town as build ups. Everything we have done so far must come out tomorrow,” said Paarwater of his team’s preparations and expectations.

The Simbas opened up their campaign this year with a last minute 30-29 loss to Germany in a test match two weeks ago, results that followed up a 10-day training camp in Western Cape, South Africa.

Kenya’s Samson Muniafu evades an attempted tackle by Germany’s Ben Ellerman in an international test match at the RFUEA ground on May 27, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Paarwater said the team gained a lot from both the camp and Germany match and among the things they worked on included set pieces and final ball execution.

For his squad to Kampala, the South African tactician has blended in youth and experience with Newcastle Falcons’ Josh Chisanga earning a place, same as KCB’s Curtis Lilako and Kenya Harlequins’ Isaac Adimo.

Commenting on the new additions to the squad, Paarwater said, “They bring new energy to the squad, we also need to bring in younger guys having a squad system is going to be important as we can’t overplay the guys.”

The squad will be skippered by KCB fullback Darwin Mukidza in the absence of Wilson Kopondo who picked up an injury a few minutes into the second half of the Germany game.

K’Opondo speaking prior to the team’s departure said he is confident the boys will deliver even in his absence.

“We have a good bunch of guys and leaders in the team so I have no doubt they will represent well. I am definitely gutted that I will not make it for this game but hopefully depending on the doctor’s words I will be back soon,” the skipper noted.

Kenya skipper Wilson Kopondo in action during an international test match against Germany at the RFUEA ground on May 27, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The Simbas hope to replicate their dominance over Uganda from last year when they won 93-34 on aggregate. They won the first leg in Kampala 48-10 before finishing up the job with a 45-24 score in Nairobi.

Uganda has named in their squad two players, danger-man Philip Wokarach and scrum-half Ivan Kirabo who both turn out for Kabras, losing finalists in both the Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup.

Wokarach put up a man of the match performance in last year’s second leg in Nairobi with his trademark kick and chase and he should be one of the players to be looked out for in Saturday’s duel.

-Paarwater quotes courtesy kru.co.ke-

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