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The Kenya Simbas Head Coach Paul Odera has named a squad of 30 players who will represent Kenya in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final qualification round in Dubai from 6th to 18th November. The team assembled for their preparations in September with weekend camps in Nairobi before settling in for a ten-day residential camp in October which concluded on Wednesday 26th October 2022.

Speaking at the team naming, head coach Odera started off with thanking the various institutions/organizations that have come together to ensure the Simbas training camps have been efficient. “These preparations would have been almost impossible, but with the support of The Hildana Lodge we managed to get our overseas players and expertise brought in. Alpha fit gym has allowed us to get the players conditioned. Thank you to Waridi Paradise for the wonderful hospitality during the ten-day camp and finally to Pembroke House who have made it possible to host the final camp. What a wonderful show of support for the national team! He said.

Odera has retained majority of the players he worked with during the Currie Cup and the Rugby Africa Cup in France and has included two new faces to the Simbas set up who are scheduled to earn their first cup during the Repechage; they are Amon Wamalwa and Joshua Weru. Dominic Coulson and Andrew Matoka are missing due to academic commitments, Collins Injera and Davis Chenge due to work commitments, Jone Kubu and Derrick Ashihundu miss out from the tournament due to injuries while Vincent Onyala is currently working with the Kenya Sevens team preparing for the 2022/2023 season.

“Amon was with us when we were coaching the U20s. We have tracked his progress and development over the last two years and we were pleased when his health was restored. He is young and has a lot of potential. He does not let errors affect how he plays and embraces uncertainty very well,” he said.

“Joshua Weru has played rugby since the age of 6 and he has been exposed to good coaching at every stage of his rugby development. A really exciting prospect with very little fear in him and the willingness to work hard. His ball carrying ability and how he conducts himself is of much older player. He also has the right subtle skills to make a difference on attack and defense” he added.

Odera added that the blend of youth and experience will be the key component in getting the Simbas to qualify. Each group will need to complement the other and right now they are working almost seamlessly with each other. They are currently having their final camp at Pembroke House School in Gilgil to get the team in the right frame of mind. “This camp will also assist us to tweak a few areas of our play and get our overseas players to train with the team together after a number of months away.” He concuded.

They head to Dubai on 1st November for the Repechage and will return on 20th November.

      Kenya Simbas Squad to the RWC Repechage

  1. Patrick Ouko,2 Edward Mwaura, 3. Andrew Peter, 4. Eugene Sifuna, 5. Brian Waraba, 6. Teddy Akala, 7. Ephraim Oduor, 8. Joseph Odero, 9. Thomas Okeyo, 10. Brian Otieno, 11. Malcolm Onsando, 12. Clinton Odhiambo, 13. George Nyambua, 14. Daniel Sikuta – Captain, 15. Martin Owilah, 16. Bethwel Anami, 17. Joshua Weru*, 18. Samuel Asati, 19. Brian Tanga, 20. Samson Onsomu, 21. Geoffrey Ominde, 22. Amon Wamalwa*, 23. Jacob Ojee, 24. Timothy Omela, 25. John Okoth, 26. Geoffrey Okwach, 27. Peter Kilonzo, 28. Bryceson Adaka, 29. Beldad Ogeta, 30. Darwin Mukidza, 31. Ian Masheti

It is important to note that six of the above players were in the 2019 JWRT in Brazil under Odera, Siminyu, Masheti, Asati, Okwach, Okoth, Omela while a total of 13 have passed through the U19s and U20 program in the last five years coached by Odera: Siminyu, Masheti, Asati, Okwach, Okoth, Omela, Mwaura, Sifuna, Okeyo, Anami, Joshua, Amon, Bryceson. Nine of the senior members of this team went to the 2018 Repechage: Patrick, Ephraim, Odero, Malcolm, Nyambua, Owilah, Onsomu, Ojee and Darwin.

Mukidza is the oldest player in the team at 34 years old while Joshua Weru is the youngest having just turn 19 years old this year. The average age of the forwards currently is 26.5 while that of the backs is 28.5.

The Simbas will kick off their Repechage campaign against USA on 6th November, on 12th they will take on Portugal before wrapping up on 18th against Hong Kong. This tournament will be played at the Sevens Stadium.

Wambui Mumbi |


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