Xavier Kipng’etich will captain the Kenya U20 squad to this year’s Rugby Africa U20 South Competition taking place in Windhoek, Namibia from 28th to 31st March.
The Resolution Impala Saracens scrum half will be assisted by Menengai Cream Homeboyz loose forward Stanley Isogol.
Head Coach Paul Odera, commenting on squad selection during the squad announcement in Nairobi on Tuesday morning said, “We’ ve been trying to get a balance between those who’ve been playing the game for a long time and some of our young players who’ve just started playing the game. The advantage of the Kenyan rugby player is that they are very well conditioned and they are able to withstand mentally even the hardest hits. We’ve been trying to see if we can get a balance…and the team this year has tried to reflect that. Trying to get that balance is what has dictated squad selection. We’ve not had the luxury of having all of them in Kenya…however…we’ve been pleased that many are playing at Kenya Cup and E.S.S level…so that has also dictated who to choose for the team.”
Chipu play Madagascar in their opening fixture on Wednesday 28 March and Odera said, ” What we do know about Madagascar having watched them last year and in previous years is they play a very expansive game when they have the ball. They will run the ball at every opportunity and will look to keep us pinned in our territory. If you look at how they beat Zimbabwe last year they ran almost every ball and very rarely do they want to go to ground. Ours will be to look to dominate the contact area and will need to be every direct when in possession.”
The winner of the Kenya-Madagascar clash will play against the winner of the Namibia-Zimbabwe tie for the right to North competition winner at a later date with a berth at World Rugby’s Junior World Rugby Trophy up for grabs. The team departs on Monday 26 March and return on Sunday 1 April.
Chipu squad to Namibia Joshua Matasi (Resolution Impala Saracens), Toby David Francombe (Nondescripts), James Simiyu (Strathmore Leos), William Diffu (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Emmanuel Silungi (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Stanley Isogol (Menengai Cream Homeboyz – Vice Captain), Akuei Monate (Top Fry Nakuru), Mark Mutuku (University of Canterbuty, NZ), Xavier Kipnge’tich Bett (Resolution Impala Saracens, Captain), Michele Brighetti (Sedbergh School, UK), Joshua Macharia (KCB), Zeden Marrow (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Victor Matiko (Menengai Oilers), Jeff Mutuku (Kingswood College, South Africa), Edmund Anya (Strathmore Leos), Kevin Kerore (Mwamba), John Daniel Gichuhi (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Bonface Ochieng (SportPesa Quins), Harold Anduvate (Menengai Oilers), James McGreevy (Hillcrest School, Nairobi), Andrew Siminyu (Hillcrest School, Durban), Bethuel Anami (Strathmore Leos), Samuel Asati (KCB), Lucas Oppal (Strathmore Leos), Massimiliano Brighetti (Unattached) NON TRAVELLING RESERVES: Dennis Lusweti (USIU), Allan Aziz (Menengai Oilers), Derrick Keyoga (Menengai Oilers)
MANAGEMENT: Paul Odera (Head Coach), Jimmy Mnene (Team Manager), Stella Mwende (Physio), Michael Aung (Forwards Coach), Edwin Boit (Analyst/S&C)