Retired Amonde relishing action in Samurai colours

Safari Sevens

Uganda Sevens players training at  Rugby Football Union of East Africa grounds on October 28, 2021 ahead of this weekend’s Safari Sevens at Nyayo National Stadium.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Ex-Kenya Sevens captain and his former teammate Injera will lead the international invitational side at Nyayo

Former Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Amonde is delighted the Safari Sevens is back after a one year absence and even though he announced his international retirement he will be in the thick of things this weekend at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

The 37-year-old KCB loose forward retired after the Tokyo Olympics held in July/August in Japan but just cannot resist another dig at Africa's premier sevens tournament.

Safari Sevens

Stallion Sevens from Nigeria get their heads together during training at  RFUEA grounds, Nairobi on October 28, 2021 ahead of the Safari Sevens.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

But Amonde will not be featuring for Kenya or even his beloved club KCB. The powerful ball carrier will don the famous jersey of invitational side Samurai International.

“It’s wonderful to be back playing rugby and it even feels better playing at this level at our own backyard,” he told Nation Sport on Thursday.

The 2020 edition was cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak.

Amonde, who chalked up 358 World Rugby Sevens Series matches scoring 64 tries and 320 points after making his debut at George Sevens in South Africa in 2006, is one of five players from Kenya named in the Samurai team.

Samurai, winners in Nairobi in 2015 and 2018, have also roped in Kenya speedster Collins Injera who once topped the World Rugby Sevens Series try scorers' list, together with Tony Owuor as well as Mike Okello and Fred Okoth.

Samurai are handled by Welshman Nick Wakley and Englishman Terry Sands assisted by Kenyans Fahad Adli (team manager), George Odhiambo (physiotherapist) and Billy Odengo (analyst).

Other players in the Samurai team are Paul Eti (Samoa), Robbie Kent (Scotland), Lloyd Lewis (Wales), Freddie Roddick (Germany) and South Africans Jacquin Moses, Khanya Neusane and Thinus Van Zyl.

Uganda, coached by former Kenya international scrum half Tolbert Onyango, and newcomers Stallion Sevens from Nigeria were the first teams to land in Nairobi on Thursday. Regulars Spain and Zimbabwe and returnees Germany were expected to land in Nairobi later Thursday.

Uganda women’s team is also in the country. Onyango’s side trained at the RFUEA grounds in Nairobi together with a host of participating teams.

South African sides have always been contenders for the title and it will be interesting to see what South Africa All Stars Academy will offer.

Kenya head coach Innocent Simiyu is expected to name the Shujaa and Morans sides on Friday.

Shujaa, Zimbabwe, Germany and Stallions are in Pool “A”. Pool “B” has Samurai, SA All Stars, Red Wailers and Kenya’s Under-20 side Chipu while Pool "C"contains Spain, Morans, Uganda and reigning national sevens champions KCB.

World Rugby Sevens Series core teams Kenya and Spain will certainly use the tournament as part of their build up for the 2021-2022 World Series that begins with the Dubai leg on November 26-27.

The Safari Sevens women’s category will feature Kenya Lionesses I, Kenya Lionesses II, South Africa's Titans, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

Action begins on Friday with age grade and veterans competitions.

Tickets are going for Sh500 regular and Sh2,000 VIP. Organisers have been permitted to allow fans in the stadium up to two thirds the capacity.

  

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