Kenya Simbas resume training for World Cup qualifiers

Kenya Simbas v Eastern Province Elephants of South Africa

Vincent Onyala (right) of Kenya Simbas tackles Elephans Athenkosi Mayinje of Eastern Province Elephants of South Africa supported by teammate Brian Waraba (left) during their Currie Cup Division One match at RFUEA ground on June 11, 2022.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The winner here will face off with whoever wins the quarter-final pairing between Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast at the same venue.
  • Semi-finals are on July 6, third place playoff on July 10, the same day the champion will be known. There will also be ranking matches for positions five and six as well as seventh and eighth.

Kenya Simbas are back in training ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Africa qualifiers slated for July 1-10 in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, France.

Simbas coach Paul Odera on Monday told Nation Sport that the players’ response at training is really good.

“The players were happy to rest for a week and are now energised and ready to face the next challenge on the World Cup journey,” said Odera.

The 34 players have a camp accommodation at Waridi Hotel. Gym is at Alpha Fit and pitch training at RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi. Odera will name 28 players before the team travels to France on June 29.

Prior to the week-long break, the Simbas had played seven matches in South Africa and two at the RFUEA in the 2022 Currie Cup First Division.

Odera’s charges registered mixed results in South Africa where they lost against Falcons 51-14 (April 9), Zimbabwe Goshawks 22-21 (April 23), Griffons 66-33 (April 30), Boland Cavaliers 45-33 (May 21), SWD Eagles 24-7 (May 28) and defeated Border Bulldogs 35-12 (May 7).

The Simbas roared past Leopards 51-35 (June 4) and Eastern Province (EP) Elephants 41-24 (June 11) at the RFUEA.   

Odera was pleased with their performance in the competition.

“We won three matches - one against one of the semi-finalists (EP Elephants) and the other against the defending champions (Leopards). So, for our first time at the Currie Cup, it is a good building block for the future. We did a lot better than when we played in the Vodacom Cup in 2014. We got seven points with one win in 2014. We got 18 points at Currie Cup with three wins and had a bonus point in every game except in the match vs SWD,” he noted.

Odera added that he was also proud that local rugby coaches can look at the fact that a Kenyan head coach can lead, organise and develop a team to play well and compete against South African teams.

The campaign, he noted, has given Kenya plenty of confidence for the qualifiers next month.

“The challenge is not to lose momentum as we prepare for the World Cup qualifiers,” he said.

At the Africa Cup, Kenya will renew their rivalry with neighbours Uganda in one of the two quarter-final matches lined up at Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence.

The winner of this all-East Africa affair will play either Senegal or Algeria in the semi-final at the same venue.

Defending champions Namibia will meet Burkina Faso at Stade Delort, Marseille.

The winner here will face off with whoever wins the quarter-final pairing between Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast at the same venue.

Semi-finals are on July 6, third place playoff on July 10, the same day the champion will be known. There will also be ranking matches for positions five and six as well as seventh and eighth.

TEAM

1. Andrew Siminyu

2. Patrick Ouko

3. Joseph Odero

4. Ephraim Oduor

5. Edward Mwaura

6. Eugene Sifuna

7. Teddy Akala

8. Brian Waraba

9. Malcolm Onsando

10. Brian Juma

11. Thomas Okeyo

12. Davis Chenge

13. George Nyambua

14. Daniel Sikuta

15. Brian Ndirangu

16. Emmanuel Silungi

17. Bethuel Anami

18. Martin Owilah

19. Brian Wahinya

20. Samuel Asati

21. Brian Tanga

22. Dominic Coulson

23. Jone Kubu

24. Collins Injera

25. Vincent Onyala

26. John Okoth

27. Peter Kilonzo

28. Darwin Mukidza

29. Beldad Ogeta

30. Derrick Ashihundu

31. Matoka Matoka

32. Bryceson Adaka

33. Jacob Ojee

34. Geoffrey Ominde

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