The Kenya15s Rugby team will be out to stamp their authority in the 15s game when they host Portugal at the RFUEA Grounds this Saturday.
With World Rugby Ranking points at stake and a home crowd to please, the Kenya Simbas have every reason to put up a strong performance against the higher-ranked Europeans. Rugby is increasingly becoming Kenya’s most-followed sports, thanks to the disorganization that is currently choking the game that lays claim to the title of being the best; football.
However, it is the 7s version of the game that has most Kenya rugby feel affiliated to, thanks to the annual World Rugby Sevens Series.
Strathmore Leos’ Brian Nyikuli will captain the Simbas as they take one of the many steps they need to get Kenya rugby fans interested in the longer version of the rugby game.
Head Coach Jerome Paarwater released the names of 15 players who will battle against the Europeans, the number having been trimmed down from the 51 who have been training at the Barclays Sports Club ahead of the clash.
Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup champions KCB Lions got the lion-share of slots in the team with six of its players making it to the final list. They include Darwin Mukidza, Fabian Olando, Jacob Ojee, Oliver Mang’eni, Moses Amusala and Curtis Ilako.
Top Fry Nakuru’s Sammy Warui, Kelvin Omiyo and Michael Okombe also made it to the final squad. Homeboyz duo Emmanuel Mavala and Joshua Chisanga, Kenya Harlequins’ Isaac Adimo and Lyle Asiligwa also made the cut alongside Sammy Oliech of Impala Saracens.
The selected team will kick on with their training on Wednesday at the Barclays Sports Club. The final training session, commonly referred to as the ‘Captain’s Run’ in rugby jargon, will be held at 4.00pmon Friday at the RFUEA Grounds, just a day before the Portugal clash.
Kenya face Portugal who climbed one place up to 23rd in the latest World Rugby Rankings released last week with 57.40 points. Kenya on the other hand remained rooted in position 32 with 53.25 points. The Portuguese’s worst ranking was in 2012 at position 27, their best was 16 in 2012.
Both sides will use the match to garner some ranking points but Kenya Shimbas will also use it as preparation for the Rugby Afrique tournament where they will face Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.