By: AYUMBA AYODI
Four players are in line notch up their debuts in the World Rugby Seven Series after they were named in the Kenya team for the 2015-2016 season.
Jeff Oluoch (Homeboyz), Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru), Robert Aringo (Impala) and Frank Wanyama (Kenya Harlequin) secured places in the final squad for the season opening Dubai Sevens due on December 4 to 5.
The second leg will be held in Cape Town on December 12 to 13.
William Ambaka of Quins and Nakuru’s Oscar Ouma make a return to the squad that has Collins Injera taking up the arm band from bereaved Andrew Amonde, who lost his elder sister to cancer. Ambaka last featured for Kenya at the 20012/2013 World Rugby Series.
Also missing from the squad is Dennis Ombachi whose individual brilliance spurred Kenya to the 2016 Rio Olympics Games when he scored the winning try as Kenya edged out Zimbabwe 21-17 in the final of the Africa qualifier on November 15.
Head coach Benjamin Ayimba indicated that Ombachi had requested to be exempted from the final squad since he will be graduating from Kenya Methodist University on Friday. Eden Agero and Oscar Ayodi, who took part at the Olympic qualifiers have been sidelined and are on the non-travelling reserves list that also has Oscar Dennis.
“We are glad that Ambaka and Ouma are fit are ready to roll and bring out their vast experience that will be key in Dubai,” said Ayimba. “Aringo and fellow newcomers have given a good account of themselves,” Ayimba said on Friday.
Kenya Sevens, the 2009 and 2013 Rugby World Cup semi-finalists, have been handed a tough Pool “D” of Dubai Sevens where they will take on England, Australia and Wales.
England finished fourth during last season’s World Series after winning in Tokyo and finishing second in Wellington while Australia finished second in Dubai and London to wind fifth. Wales wound 12th while Kenya 13th last season.
Kenya only managed two points from last year’s Dubai outing, losing to Canada 12-19 in Shield final.
“We are ready for Dubai. We have done the best we can top build on our “A” game and put the best forward,” said Ayimba. “I will rotate the players to ensure I get the best side keeping in mind we have a long season ahead.”
Collins Injera (Mwamba, captain), Biko Adema (Nondies), Willy Ambaka (Kenya Harlequin), Oscar Ouma (Nakuru), Billy Odhiambo (Strathmore Leos), Leonard Mugaisi, Augustine Lugonzo, Bush Mwale (Homeboyz), Frank Wanyama (Kenya Harlequin), Jeffrey Oluoch (Homeboyz), Robert Aringo (Impala Saracens), Nelson Oyoo (Nakuru).
Non travelling reserves: Eden Agero, Oscar Ayodi, Oscar Dennis.
Management: Benjamin Ayimba (Head Coach), Paul Murunga ( Assistant Coach), Geoffrey Kimani (Strength and Conditioning), Lameck Bogonko (Physio),Newton Ong’alo (Team Manager)
SOURCE: DAILY NATION