Boost for Kenya Simbas ahead of Hong Kong duel in Dubai

Kenya Simbas Coach Paul Odera

Kenya Simbas Coach Paul Odera during their training session at Impala Club on June 2, 2022 ahead of their Currie Cup First Division against South Africa's North West Leopards to be played at RFUEA ground in Nairobi on Saturday.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Simbas take on Hong Kong on Friday in a dead rubber match starting at  3pm after both teams dropped out of contention after losing their two opening matches each.
  • Portugal and the United States of America face-off at 5.30pm the same day to decide who proceeds to the 2023 RWC in France.

A boycott has been averted after Hemingways Collection donated Sh1.8 million in allowances to Kenya Simbas ahead of their last match of 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) final qualification tournament in Dubai.  

The Simbas take on Hong Kong on Friday in a dead rubber match starting at  3pm after both teams dropped out of contention after losing their two opening matches each.

Portugal and the United States of America face-off at 5.30pm the same day to decide who proceeds to the 2023 RWC in France.

The winner will join Pool “C” of the 2023 RWC in France that already has Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

All has not been well for Kenya Simbas, who had boycotted training this week owing to unpaid allowances dating back three weeks.

Kenya Simbas dropped out of contention for a place at the 2023 RWC after losing 85-0 to Portugal Wolves on Saturday at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

It was the team’s worst ever defeat in a Test match and the second loss in the tournament following a loss to United States of America’s Eagles 68-14 on Sunday at the same venue.

Hemingways chairman Dicky Evans noted that the donation is exclusively designated for the players’ allowances.

“Hemingways Collection is passionate about quality training and support. We believe in continuously providing excellent service for our clients and working with Kenyan athletes to showcase talent to our guests,” said Evans.

Kenya Simbas head coach Paul Odera has made eight changes to the side that lost to Portugal ahead of the clash with Hong Kong.

Five of the changes are in the forwards with Eugene Sifuna, Clinton Odhiambo and George Nyambua starting after coming off the bench in Saturday’s defeat.

Bethuel Anami and Patrick Ouko return after missing out last weekend.

Darwin Mukidza, Geoffrey Ominde and Jacob Ojee return to a backline that sees Samuel Asati start at scrumhalf with Brian Tanga deployed on the wing.

“It’s been tough to pick the players up after the loss to Portugal but we have tried to get it to the boys that we need to finish with some pride and dignity,” said Odera.

Odera noted that everyone has had a chance to play except Brian Waraba who is on the bench.

“Of course there was a concern about the rustiness, with players not having played for three or four months. There was that difficulty in trying to make a choice on who is going to play and who is not going to play,” said Odera.

Odera expects the Hong Kong duel to be physical. “They have got a very strong rolling maul…that is something that we need to be very wary of,” Odera explained, adding that they will make sure that they play in the right parts of the field.

Odera said they had almost equal possession stats against Portugal but were in the wrong parts of the field.

15.Darwin Mukidza, 14. Jacob Ojee, 13. Bryceson Adaka, 12. John Okoth, 11. Brian Tanga, 10. Geoffrey Ominde, 9. Samuel Asati, 1. Patrick Ouko, 2. Eugene Sifuna, 3. Ephraim Oduor, 4. Malcolm Onsando (captain), 5. Clinton Odhiambo, 6. George Nyambua, 7. Martin Owilah, 8. Bethuel Anami

Replacements: 16. Brian Waraba, 17. Andrew Siminyu, 18. Joseph Odero, 19. Thomas Okeyo, 20. Joshua Weru, 21. Samson Onsomu, 22. Peter Kilonzo, 23. Geoffrey Okwach

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