It is a blend of experience and emerging talent as Kenya named their squads for the Commonwealth 2018 Rugby Sevens competition slated for April 13-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Their respective coaches named Shujaa and Kenya Lionesses squads yesterday with promise of better performance than in past competitions.
From Shujaa’s squad that lifted last weekend’s Victoria Falls sevens tournament in Zimbabwe, Homeboyz scrumhalf Augustine Lugonzo and Impala’s winger Ian Minjire made the cut replacing this season debutants Erick Ombasa and Samuel Ng’ethe.
Shujaa will be skippered by ‘Big wheels’ Oscar Ouma and will be deputised by Sammy Oliech. Failing to make the cut is Shujaa’s captain Oscar Ayodi and Dennis Ombachi who are yet to fully recuperate from injuries sustained during the opening HSBC world sevens legs.
Ayodi’s return had been projected to take place with the Hong Kong tournament while Ombachi was expected to fully recover before the end of the season. Non-travelling reserve will be Brian Tanga, Erick Ombasa and Herman Humwa.
The named squad will next feature in the seventh leg of the HSBC sevens-Hong Kong sevens where their female counterparts Lionesses will be out to hunt a qualification in the Women’s HSBC sevens circuit.
Lionesses boss Kevin Wambua named 12 players for HSBC women’s series qualifier and Commonwealth competition to be skippered by Philadelphia Olando and Sheila Chajira as the deputy.
An additional 13th player-Stacy Awuor will link with the team during the Commonwealth Games rugby action to go down at the Robina Stadium, Gold Coast. Vancouver Sevens silver medallists, Kenya Sevens is seeded second in the Hong Kong leg set for April 7-8.
Shujaa is pooled alongside Australia, Spain and Canada. In the Commonwealth Games sevens competition, Kenya have been pooled in Group C and must fend off New Zealand, Canada and Zambia to proceed to the main cup quarter-finals as only the top side from each pool proceeds to the cup quarter-finals stage.
In the previous edition held in Glasgow back in 2014, Kenya was eliminated in the cup quarter-finals stage going down 7-19 to the edition’s runners-up New Zealand.