Loose forward Dan Sikuta and the versatile backline quartet of Brian Tanga, John Okoth, Vincent Onyala and Darwin Mukidza are restored to the starting line up as the Simbas take on the Border Bulldogs in Currie Cup first division action at the Davidson Rugby Stadium in Alice, South Africa on Saturday 7 May 2022.
Odera has further tweaked the front row, Ephraim Odour moving to the left side of the scrum with Joseph Odero coming in at tight head to add a lot more power.
Brian Ndirangu is thrown into the back row and is tasked with poaching balls at the breakdown.
Utility back Jone Kubu is fit enough to start from the bench.
Eugene Sifuna who starts from the bench and Chrispine Shitundo who is not involved in Saturday’s action linked up with the squad this week.
“We have named the strongest available team for this match, “said Odera.
“Sadly we have lost more players through injury. Elkeans Musonye, Shem Angugo and Coleman Were are all injured after last week’s brutal match against Griffons, “he added.
Commenting on the fixture, Head Coach Paul Odera said, “Border are a big phyiscal team and they are probably targetting this as one of the games they can win. So they will play it like a final.”
“We have done our homework on their key players and what we expect from them from all the three set pieces. Additionally, we have looked at what they try and do in different parts of the field when they have the ball,” said the former Kenya international.
Odera added, “We need to keep the ball a lot longer, cut down on unforced errors and put them under pressure both in attack and defense.”
“It will be a tough game as we travel for 14 hours to East London and then another 2 hours on the day of the match. It will mean that the Simbas have travelled a total of 46 hours in just a week. It is like somebody travelling from Nairobi to Kisumu 6 times in a week and then playing a match on the sixth trip. It will be a huge mental and physical test for our boys, but even with all the challenges, it is still excellent preparation for when we meet Uganda in France on the 2nd of July. Our boys are going to give it their all, “concluded Odera.
Simbas match day 23
15.Darwin Mukidza (Vice Captain), 14. Timothy Okwemba, 13. Vincent Onyala, 12. John Okoth, 11. Derrick Ashiundu, 10. Geoffrey Ominde, 9. Brian Tanga, 1. Ephraim Oduor, 2. Brian Waraba, 3. Joseph Odera, 4. Brian Juma, 5. Thomas Okeyo, 6. Daniel Sikuta (Captain), 7. Brian Ndirangu, 8. Bethuel Anami REPLACEMENTS 16. Eugene Sifuna, 17. Edward Mwaura, 18. Patrick Ouko, 19. Clinton Odhiambo, 20. Brian Amaitsa, 21. Brian Wahinya, 22. Jone Kubu, 23. Peter Kilonzo