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Kenya's Chipu seek to be last men standing in World Rugby Junior Trophy


Kenya Chipu Daniel Wamalwa (left) in action against Tunisia. [Rugby Africa]

After dominating the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy two months ago, Kenya's U20 rugby team, Chipu, is ready to open another history book ahead of the World Rugby Junior Trophy set for Scotland next month.

A dominant 28-13 victory over Zimbabwe in Harare saw Kenya win the Barthes Trophy and qualify for the World Trophy, the global stage where captain Andycole Omolo wants to lead Kenya to glory.

"Winning the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy in April has given us great confidence. We are ready to give our best and aim for the top prize in Scotland,” said the KCB star.

“We are mentally strong ahead of the World Cup. We have been training with the senior side, the Simbas, whom we have been able to learn a lot from since April."

“As a player, I am proud to be with Chipu. The experience I have gotten playing regularly in the Kenya Cup with KCB has helped me grow myself and I am ready to dance with the big boys.”

Chipu, drawn in Group B, will kick off their campaign against Uruguay on Thursday, July 2, followed by a clash with the Netherlands on July 7, before concluding their group fixtures against the USA on Friday, July 12.

This marks Chipu's fourth appearance at the tournament, having previously featured in 2009 (Nairobi), 2019 (Brazil), and 2023 (Nairobi). The stakes are high, as the winner of the tournament will secure a spot in the 2025 World Rugby Junior Championship.

Chipu head to Scotland with an unchanged squad from the one that triumphed in the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy in April.

The team boasts nine returning players from their 2023 Junior Trophy campaign: Geylord Ngasi, Andycole Omolo, Iddo Kuta, Wycliffe Ogutu, Nathan Tsindoli, Patrick Wainaina, Faran Juma, Michael Wamalwa, and James Olela.

The squad is set to depart for Scotland on Thursday next week.

Head coach Simon Jawichre expressed confidence in the team’s preparations, highlighting the intensive training camps and practice matches that have sharpened the squad's readiness.

"Looking back since the Barthes Trophy, we really wanted our guys to play in the (Rugby) Super Series… a few made it there… quite a number trained without playing," Jawichre said.

"We’ve had two camps after the Super Series, one on our own, but we actually had the opportunity to face off with KCB as they were training for the Enterprise Cup."

"The second week, we put ourselves up against the Simbas (the Kenya men’s fifteens senior team) where we had joint sessions together.”

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