Kubu returns as Kenya Simbas prepare for World Cup qualifiers

Kenya Simbas prepare for World Cup qualifiers

What you need to know:

  • Odera said the return of Kubu gives him different options at his backline.
  • “I now have to pick between Kubu and Dominic Coulson with Geoffrey Ominde also offering something different.
  • “Vincent Onyala and John Okoth seem to be settling at centre with Collins Injera at the wing. The power of Bilda Ogeta, Derrick Ashiundu and Jacob Ojee coming in with experience makes the backline quite exciting,” said Odera.

Fijian born fullback Jone Kubu is back in the country and ready to spur Kenya Simbas to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Kubu has since had two sessions with Kenya Simbas at the RFUEA ground as the team resumed training on Monday after a one-week break.

The provisional squad of 34 players is preparing for the Africa qualifiers for the 2023 Rugby World Cup that will take place from July 1 to 10 in the French cities of Marseille and Aixen.

Kenya Simbas coach Paul Odera deferred naming the final squad of 28 players from Tuesday to Friday.

The Simbas leave the country on June 29 for the qualifiers where they face Uganda in their opening match of the knockout event on July 2.

Kubu, who helped Kabras Sugar to Kenya Cup victory in March this year, was in Fiji where he had gone to visit his family.

John Kubu

Kenya Simbas player Jone Kubu (centre) stretches during a team training session at RFUEA ground on June 21, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

"I had not seen my family for almost three years with Covid-19 ruining everything," said Kubu.

"It was a well-deserved break, I am re-energised now.

Kubu said that he struggled a bit on the field on Monday, but the Tuesday sessions proved OK.

Despite missing out on Simbas' Currie Cup participation, Kubu acknowledged the tournament has had a great impact on the team with a lot of improvement.

Kenya Simbas completed their Currie Cup First Division outing strongly, winning their last two matches against Leopards and Eastern Province Elephants 51-35 and 41-24 on June 4 and 11 respectively in Nairobi.

The Simbas ended their maiden campaign at Currie Cup with three wins and six losses to finish eighth in the 10-team contest.

"Our breakdowns are much better, the defence is on point and our folding systems are working well," said Kubu.

"I am ready to do anything that will help Kenya qualify for the World Cup next year if picked."

Odera said he postponed the naming of the final team so as to remove the rust that had gathered after the break.

“There is a bit of rustiness in the one-week break after the Currie Cup outing,” Odera said, adding that there is need to keep them sharp.

“The medical and strength and conditioning teams have to give me a final feedback after several more sessions before naming the team on Friday,” said Odera, noting that some sharpness is bound to go when the final team is named early.

Odera said he will continue sharpening his line-outs and defence so as to achieve consistency.

"There were games where we were at 80 percent while others were 50 percent,” explained Odera, quipping that his defence can also get better by being intelligent at the crease.

He said they are working for more variation and intensity in their attacks before departing to France.

Odera said his forwards are fitter and stronger, and are able to tackle and get up quickly.

“We have always had a weak tight five, but things have changed with massive contribution from them,” said Odera.

Odera said the return of Kubu gives him different options at his backline.

“I now have to pick between Kubu and Dominic Coulson with Geoffrey Ominde also offering something different.

“Vincent Onyala and John Okoth seem to be settling at centre with Collins Injera at the wing. The power of Bilda Ogeta, Derrick Ashiundu and Jacob Ojee coming in with experience makes the backline quite exciting,” said Odera.

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