Chipu heads in what is ultimately their toughest match yet having won one match against Brazil and lost one to Uruguay in their World Rugby U20 Trophy campaign. Japan has featured in the U20 Trophy six times since 2010: 2010-2014 and 2017, the 2019 edition will be their seventh appearance. In 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016 and 2018, they were in the U20 Championship.
They are currently in the top 15 teams in the World Rugby U20 Rankings and #Chipu becomes the first Kenyan team to face a National side as highly ranked as this.
Head Coach Paul Odera has made one change to his starting lineup: Barry Robinson comes in as the starting scrumhalf while Vice-Captain Samuel Asati starts off the bench.
“Barry is rested and fresh and brings a bit more width in his distribution. He also possesses the best clearing kick which will be necessary. The rest of the backline from the Brazil game remains intact. Keeping the winning combination together,” said Odera.
He added that there has been a notable improvement in the scrums and line-outs and commended the players who have also improved on making quick decisions under pressure.
“It’ll definitely be the toughest match we have ever played at this level. Japan are a very well drilled side. We have done what we can to identify their weaknesses and our training this week has been focused on how best to exploit what weaknesses we perceive there to be in the Japanese game,” added Coulson, Chipu’s Vice-Captain
“We’ve come a long way as a team are now understanding what it takes to compete at this level. Everything has gone up a level, in training as well as our preparation off the pitch.
We are understanding the systems we want to use and we are beginning to implement them into our game. The match against Japan will be a great challenge for everyone involved and it’ll allow Kenya Rugby to see how we fair against a World top 10 rugby Nation.” Concluded Coulson
“We are playing one of the most experienced and disciplined teams in this tournament. This is our ultimate test; a determination of where we are as a National team. I love the change of attitude from my players and from the look of things, we’ll give our best and let the outcome show what we are capable of.” Said Captain Bonface Ochieng.
Squad Facing Japan: 1. Andrew Siminyu, 2. Bonface Ochieng, 3. Ian Masheti, 4. Emanuel Silungi, 5. Hibrahim Ayoo, 6. Samuel Were, 7. Brian Amaitsa, 8. George Kyriazi, 9. Barry Robinson, 10. Dominic Coulson, 11. Timothy Omela, 12. John Okoth, 13. James Mcgreevy, 14. Geofrey Okwach, 15. Andrew Matoka.
Finishers: 16. Wilfred Waswa, 17. Ian Njenga, 18. Rotuk Rahedi, 19. Collins Obure, 20. Frank Aduda, 21. Sheldon Kahi, 22. Samuel Asati, 23. Owain Ashley, 24. Jeff Mutuku, 25. Douglas Kahuri
The match will be live on the World Rugby YouTube Channel and will kick off tonight, Wednesday 17th July at 11:00pm EAT.