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Murray’s exit will hurt Kenyan rugby- Snook

Departing Kenya Simbas assistant coach Murray Roulston with head coach Ian Snook and assistant Dominique Habimana during the captain’s run ahead of the Zimbabwe clash on June 29, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29- Kenya Simbas head coach Ian Snook says the departure of his assistant Murray Roulston will not distract the team ahead of Saturday afternoon’s Africa Gold Cup tie against Zimbabwe, but has warned that it will come to bite in the long run.

Murray announced on Thursday that he will be vacating his role as Snook’s assistant after the Zimbabwe game, pointing out to lack of a work permit and some owed dues which he said have taken time to be paid out.

“I don’t think it will have an effect at all because I think the boys are used to adversity. They can cope with most things …. certainly they can cope with a lot more than I could realize,” Snook told Capital Sport as he took the team out for the final session before the Zimbabwe game.

He added; “It is not hurting right now but it will hurt Kenyan rugby in the long run with him not being here which is a big shame really. This did not catch me with surprise because I knew what was happening and we have to move on. It’s life as it is.”

Roulston will be on the bench on Saturday during the Zimbabwe clash but that will possibly be his last time out in the red and black of Kenya.

Kenya Simbas head coach Ian Snook talks to the players during a training session at the Impala Ground ahead of the Zimbabwe clash on June 29, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Kenya Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Ronald Bukusi has however told Capital Sport that they will make an attempt to sort out the issues with the New Zealander now that the government has promised to release Sh21mn to the Union within the next few days.

This promise was made on Friday morning by the Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor during a press briefing where it was announced that the Kenya Tourism Board will be coming in as the Kenya Sevens sponsors.

“He is an asset; a huge asset. We will do what we can but it’s all about whether we are able to manage resources enough to provide what is needed. We have been broke and a lot of our problems will be solved with money,” Bukusi said.

“We will wait to see whether we will get the money promised and then we will try to address some of the issues he brought up,” added the CEO.

Snook himself has not given away much on whether or not he will follow his countryman out, having disclosed when he was unveiled that he specifically asked Murray to accompany him to Kenya.

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“Unlike Murray I will keep things to myself,” Snook said briefly when asked whether or not he will lead the technical bench for the duration of his contract.

Kenya Simbas player Biko Adema with the ball alongside Tony Onyango and Zeden Marrow during a training session at the Impala Ground ahead of the Zimbabwe clash on June 29, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Nonetheless, the team will stick their eyes to the prize when they take on Zimbabwe on Saturday and they will be looking to notch their second win of the Gold Cup to keep their dreams of a maiden qualification to the World Cup alive.

The Simbas started their campaign with a 28-24 win over Morocco in Casablanca and they will be looking for an improved performance against a potentially tougher Zimbabwe side.

“There is plenty of excitement with the boys and they are calm ahead of the game. We watched Zimbabwe’s videos in their game against Morocco and we realized it will be a big task. They have speed on the outside and size on the inside and it’s gonna be difficult,” the tactician noted.

Kenya Simbas fly half Samson Onsomu prepares for a scrum during a training session at the Impala Ground ahead of the Zimbabwe clash on June 29, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

He added; “It’s a World Cup qualification year they have got de Villiers (Peter) who is an international coach with lots of experience. They have heavily invested and are obviously better prepared than last year so they will be a better team,” the coach said.

He has disclosed that within the past week of training, they have worked to improve on the scrum as well as set piece play, especially line-outs.

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