Rugby Rugby

60 players selected for Kenya Simbas trials

Kenya’s new Rugby coach the Kiwi Ian Snook

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24- Kenya’s final team for the Elgon Cup as well as the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers will be named on May 6 after two trials organized by new head coach Ian Snook with assistance from four local coaches.

The tactician, who jetted into the country a fortnight ago, has named a squad of 60 players who will go into the preliminary trial match scheduled for Sunday from where the squad will be whittled down to a slimmer figure that will play in the final trial a week later.

The squad has been divided into two with Kenya Cup winning coach, KCB’s Curtis Olago and his Homeboyz counterpart Paul Murunga handling one of the teams while the other will be managed by Kenya Cup losing finalists Kabras Sugar boss, Charles Cardovillis and Impala’s Frank Ndong.

“We saw a lot of talent when we went to watch the school games in Embu and I must say that most of them are not utilized. I saw very good props, hookers and backs, positions that the national team is struggling from,” Snook told Capital Sport during the Saturday Music Sports Show.

New Kenya 15s head coach Ian Snook (right) chats with his assistant Murray Roulston (left) when they met the squad for the first time on April 12, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“We are set to have trials on Sunday and I urge all to come out in large numbers to show case their talents,” the New Zealander based coach added.

Among the players who have been included in the squad include Kenya Sevens star Dennis Ombachi who has just recovered from an ankle injury he sustained during the opening leg of the World Sevens Series in Dubai last December.

Another ex-sevens star included in the squad is Felix Ayange.

Ian Snook, his assistants Murray Roulston and Dominique Habimana plus the rest of the technical bench members will be on the stands watching out for the best of the pack.

Dennis Ombachi in action at the Dubai Sevens. The team lost their second match 48-5 against South Africa. PHOTO/KRU

The coaching team will be looking for players who demonstrate a consistent high work rate, make good decisions and strong shoulder dominant tackles. As well, they must demonstrate an awareness of team play as against individualism.

Snook remains confident that he can guide the Simbas to their first ever World Cup and his first step has been to ensure he gets his best squad for the job.

“I am confident Kenya will be in the World Cup in 2019, that’s why we came here. So far we have seen a lot of potential and promising players.”

Team 1

Coaches Paul Murunga and Curtis Olago

Oscar Simiyu, Moses Amusala, Joshua Matasi, Coleman Were, Frank Khalwale, Dennis Karani, James Wanjala, Isaiah Nyariki, Wilson Kopondo, Oliver Mangeni, Philip Kwame, George Nyambua, Peter Waitere, Davis Chenge, Steven Otieno, Mike Wanjala, Mohammed Omollo, Biko Adema, Levi Amunga, Isaac Adimo, Felix Ayange, Brad Owako, Max Kang’eri, Johnstone Mungau, Israel Soi, Dennis Muhanji, Aggrey Kitoi, Vincent Mose, Edmund Anya.

Team 2

Coaches Frank Ndong and Charles Cardovillis

Thomas Okidia, Joseph Odero, Philip Ikambili, George Asin, Francis Mutuku, Patrick Ouko, Nelson Nyandat, Melvin Thairu, Eric Kerre, Malcolm Onsando, Andrew Chogo, Elkeans Musonye, Levi Ochieng, Peter Misango, Peter Karia, Martin Owila, Gabriel Adero, Samson Onsomu, Xavier Kipngetich, Michael Kimwele, Nato Simiyu, Henry Ayah, Jacob Ojee, Nick Barasa, Leo Seje, Peter Kilonzo, David Ambunya, Tony Onyango, Dennis Ombachi, Darwin Mukidza, Michael Wanjala.