Glimpse into the lives of rugby players

By Shirley Genga

The Kenya Rugby Sevens team has competed in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens. Over the years, the team has worked hard and made a name for themselves in the rugby circuit and are currently one of the 15 staple teams of the IRB Sevens tournament.

The IRB Sevens World Series is the world’s premiere rugby sevens series consisting of eight of the top rugby sevens tournaments in the world, which starts annually in October and ends the following year in June. National teams from around the globe compete for this prestigious series and Kenya is currently ranked fourth in the IRB Sevens.

The series navigates through Australia, Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Scotland and England.

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So far, the team has represented Kenya in Australia, Dubai and South Africa. They were fourth in Australia and third in Dubai, but failed to perform as expected recently in South Africa. However, they still have New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Japan Scotland and England to reclaim their spot as top contenders in the tournament next year.

Meet some of the star players:

Andrew Amonde, 28: Team captain.

Position: Forward.

Club: Kenya Commercial Bank.

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High school: Kisumu Boys High School.

When did you first play rugby?

I played basketball since Form One and only discovered I was good at rugby in Form Three. I have never stopped playing it since then.

What else do you do apart from rugby?

When I am not playing rugby, I am a video producer and freelance journalist.

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Who is your role model?

Jerry Collins of New Zealand; he is a great player. He is known for his physical strength and hard hits.

Are you taken?

Yes, I am married.

What do you do for fun?

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I play basketball when I am free

William Ambaka, 22, Kenya Harlequins

High school: Dr Aggrey High School, Wundanyi.

Position: Centre.

When did you start playing rugby?

I played soccer until I discovered rugby in high school. I have been playing rugby for about five years.

What else do you do?

I am currently at Methodist University studying Business Law.

Which rugby player do you admire most?

I admire Hosea Gear who plays for New Zealand. He is not only big, but also very fast and effective on the pitch.

Are you dating?

Yes I am.

What qualities do you find attractive in a lady?

I like an understanding lady with a great personality and, of course, beautiful.

What do you do when you are not playing rugby or at school?

I enjoy playing basketball, which I am also good at.

Cyptian Kuto, 20, Strathmore Leos.

High school: Sunshine Secondary School.

Position: Winger and centre.

When did you start playing rugby?

When I joined high school, I was interested in football but in Form Three, I realised it was not taking me where I wanted to go, so I started playing rugby.

What else do you do?

I am a student at Strathmore University. I am in my second year studying Bachelor of Business Information Technology.

What do you do for fun?

I am a coin and stamp collector. I am fascinated by how different countries use the above items to artistically express themselves.

What is the difference between the winger and centre position?

A winger needs to have speed and power to take the ball all the way to the scoring line while the centre creates space for the winger.

Are you dating?

I am not.

What qualities do you find attractive in a lady?

Down to earth, simple and definitely attractive.

Which rugby player do you admire most?

Shane Williams who played for Wales but retired last year. His life story is very inspiring. At a young age, he was told he could not play because he was too small, but he proved everyone wrong and ended up being one of the best rugby players of his time.

Biko Adema, 25: Vice-captain.

High school: St Mary’s School.

Position: Fly half and centre.

Club: Nondies.

What other sports did you play while in high school?

Apart from rugby, I also played soccer and tennis.

What is the difference between a fly half and a centre?

A centre creates space and provides support while a fly half kicks the ball.

What else do you do?

I work as a registry assistant when I am not playing rugby.

You are a favourite among many ladies and I am sure they would like to know whether you are available.

I am dating.

I am attracted to a lady who is...

Pretty with a good character. She should also be comfortable and confident with who she is.

Robert Aringo, 19, Impala Club

High school: St Mary’s High School, Nairobi.

Position: Hooker and sweeper.

Which rugby player do you admire most?

Richie Maccaw who plays for New Zealand. He is inspirational and also a great captain to his team. He is a great player and can handle pressure well.

Apart from rugby, what else do you do?

I completed high school last year. I am hoping to pursue Journalism at Daystar University.

What sports did you play in high school?

Apart from rugby, I participated in swimming and basketball.

What do you do for fun?

I love reading and watching television series.

What is your favourite series currently?

I am a huge fan of Common Law.

Are you dating?

No.

What qualities do you find attractive in a woman?

Great personality and confidence. I am more drawn to lighter women because I am dark

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Rugby Sevens World Series