The Kenya Rugby Union together with the Kenya Under 20 Team Management held the team’s trials on 20th January at the RFUEA Grounds where more than 150 players turned up.
The trials are set to produce a team that will represent Kenya in the Barthes Cup this March in Nairobi and Head Coach Paul Odera was proud of the quality of rugby displayed by the young players. “The numbers were overwhelming; we had planned for 70 players but we got 180 which is a good problem to have because it shows that we’ve got a good group of young players in the country who want to play. What was even better was that the quality of rugby displayed by these players was of a very high standard. In previous years when we’ve been at this stage of preparation, we have normally been struggling to see how we can develop the skills of many of the players.
Once the team has been narrowed down, Odera is looking to start his training with three conditioning sessions a week and one half-day camp on Sundays with the locally available players.
Chipu will play Tunisia on 27th of March while Namibia takes on Senegal on the same day. Paul Odera has experience with Tunisia seeing as the two sides met in 2016. “With the Tunisians, they have very heavy forwards and some dangerous players in the back-line but it is something that we are more than equipped to handle. We’ve got to do our homework, do our research then based on that develop training sessions so that we’re able to deal with these teams. If we do play Namibia again, I mean last year we pushed them hard; the score however does not reflect how close the game was. Hopefully this year, if we can get the players mentally, physically and skillfully ready, perhaps we can be able to finally get a positive result against them at this level.”
The team is scheduled to kick off their training sessions later in the week.