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Kenyans jet in for rugby tie

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The Kenyan national rugby team arrived in the country Wednesday for the tri-nations Victoria Cup match against the Sables at Harare Sports Club on Saturday, with their coach, Michael Otieno saying his he expecting an exciting match.

Kenya are the reigning champions of the tri-nations Victoria Cup, which also includes Uganda after winning all their four matches last year.

Otieno, who is on his second trip to Zimbabwe as coach after masterminding his country’s first ever win in Zimbabwe last year, said he was impressed by the Sables’ performance in Uganda.

“Playing Zimbabwe has always been exciting and we looking forward to the match. This is my second visit as the national team coach, but my previous visits as the coach were really bad going back to the 80s where we used to be thrashed by Zimbabwe. In fact the last visit I had as a player was in 1989 when we beaten 66-9. However, last year we managed to win when I came here as coach and I know it won’t be easy to do that again which makes Saturday’s match quite intriguing,” Otieno said.

He pinpointed the Sables’ dominance in set pieces as a major threat for his team.

“I looked at Zimbabwe last week in Kampala. They played pretty well and they are definitely on a high after winning their two games convincingly.

“They are pretty tight on the set pieces and once you are strong in the set pieces, then you are able to set a good platform in attack as you will be able to use your territory quite well. It’s an area of their game that worries us but we have been working on it,” said Otieno.

While Zimbabwe has been on the rise, the Kenyans had a tough tour of South Africa were they lost home and away to a South Africa provincial side the Mpumalanga Pumas.

The Pumas won 41-27 in South Africa and 48-22 in Nairobi but Otieno said he believed his charges emerged from the defeats a stronger side.

“We had a good outing against the Pumas although they exposed a few of our weaknesses that we have worked on. The team has changed pretty much and there are about eight new faces from last year’s team so it’s still difficult to gauge whether we are stronger or weaker than last year,” Otieno said.

The 22 man team has seven uncapped players and in captained by the 30 year old winger Victor Sudi, who has taken over the armband from his injured brother, centre Innocent Simiyu.

The team also has 10 players, who didn’t feature for Kenya in their historic 23-18 victory here in Harare last year and held their first training session yesterday at Prince Edward School.

Forwards: Joel Ng’ang’a, Vincent Ongera, Daniel Kiptoo,(UAP Rhinos),Dennis Abenga (SDV Transami Cheetahs), Moses Amusala (Lions), Anthony Mutai (UAP Rhinos), Michael Aung (SDV Transami Cheetahs), Martin Likami (UAP Rhinos), Kevin Umbuge (SDV Transami Cheetahs), Dennis Mwanja (Lions), David Mogere, Wilson Kopondo (UAP Rhinos)

Backs: Peter Mutai (Lions), Edwin Achayo (UAP Rhinos), Nato Simiyu (SDV Transami Cheetahs),Isaac Adimo,Victor Sudi, Dennis Muhanji (UAP Rhinos),Kelvin Omiyo, Anthony Nyandigisi (SDV Transami Cheetahs), Allan Omuka (UAP Rhinos), Vincent Mose (SDV Transami Cheetahs)

Management
Michael Otieno (Head Coach), Edward Kinyanye (Assistant Coach), Wangila Simiyu (Team Manager), Chris Makachia (Physiotherapist)
Sables’ 25-man squad – Forwards: N Mukondiwa, B Makamure, D Mutamangira, T Karuru, S Makuku, S Ferreira, D Esbach, P Joubert, M Coleman, J Ferreira, P Chitenderu, C Dinha (Vice captain), F Chipendo, G Nechironga and N Ndlovu

Backs: C Makotose, D Hondo (Captain), T Nelson, T Nemadire, P Machisa, S Mpofu , D Bradshaw, D Robertson, T Makwanya, K Chiwanza

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