Why Kenya Simbas coaches Snook, Roulston were axed

Kenya Rugby Union has said they were forced to sack national 15s head coach Ian Snook and his assistant barely half-way through his two-year contract as they did not meet their targets.

The 68-year-old New Zealander, who took over Simbas’ reins from South African Jerome Paarwater in March last year, leaves alongside fellow countryman Murray Roulston, who served as his assistant.

KRU chairman Richard Omwela said they were forced to take the decision after the team failed in its bid to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“We have parted ways with the 15s coach and his assistant. They were supposed to serve for two years and their main task was to help us reach the World Cup. That didn’t happen so we decided to make the tough decision based on that,” Omwela said.

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“If they were here for example, we would have had to pay them January salaries and it’s not tenable because we don’t have the funds,” he added.

Omwela, whose term lapses in March, further said he is keen to oversee the appointment of Snook’s replacement before the AGM in March where a new KRU boss will be elected.

“There is a board meeting next Monday where we shall make a decision. I can assure you that we shall have a new coach before the AGM in March because we can’t let the boys as idle as they are now,” Omwela said.

“Every contract has a termination clause which has a notice period. We issued them with a notice under the contract and we owe them one month salaries,” he said.

During his short stint, Snook, who has previously worked in various coaching capacities in New Zealand and Australia took charge of nine competitive matches and one friendly.

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His tenure began with an aggregate win over Uganda in the annual Elgon Cup before helping the side to four successive wins in the 2018 Africa Gold Cup which served as a qualification route to the 2019 World Cup.

Simbas would then fall at the last hurdle, losing away to Namibia and the result subjected them to a four-team Repechage tournament in France.

Enroute to the showpiece, they faced a Romania Select side in a friendly tie, losing 36-5.

Kenya’s hopes of a maiden World Cup appearance would then evaporate in Marseille, France as they lost all their three fixtures.

Elsewhere, Ulster have banned a fan for life after allegations of racist abuse directed at Ireland star Simon Zebo, adds AFP reports.

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The decision follows an incident during a European Champions Cup game between Ulster and Zebo’s club Racing 92 at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium on January 12.

Zebo, who has an Irish mother, was born in Cork after his father came to Ireland from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

“Following a robust investigation into allegations of abuse directed at Simon Zebo during the fixture versus Racing 92 on Saturday 12th January, Ulster Rugby has sanctioned a lifetime ban on a spectator, for breaching our stadium regulations,” an Ulster statement read.

“We would like to thank the many supporters who provided information to assist our investigation.

“We are all very proud of our reputation as an inclusive club and the unacceptable behaviour of this one individual is not reflective of our supporters, or the values of our club.

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Kenya Rugby UnionIan Snooknational 15s