Kenya Simbas seek third Currie Cup win against South Africa's Elephants

Kenya Simbas Samuel Asati clear ball against South Africa's Leopards from South Africa during Currie Cup first division match at RFUEA grounds. 4 June, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya Simbas will be seeking to register their third Currie Cup win when they host South Africa’s Eastern Province Elephants in their last Carling Currie Cup first division to be played at the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi on Saturday.

The Simbas have won two of the seven matches played.

Kenya lost their opening three matches against Falcons 51-14 on April 9 before going down 22-21 to Zimbabwe on April 23 and Griffons 66-33 on April 30.

A 35-12 win over Border Bulldogs on May 7 sprung the team to life before being given a reality check in a back-to-back defeat to Boland Cavaliers (45-33) and SWD Eagles (24-7).

The win against North West Leopards sees Simbas bounce back to winning ways ahead of next weekend’s match against Eastern Province Leopards.

Ahead of the 4 pm kickoff match at the RFUEA Grounds, the Simbas have been boosted by the timely return of Collins Injera as Paul Odera named his squad on Thursday.

Injera’s return brings an end to his three-year absence from the national 15’s side having last played for the Simbas was back in 2018 during the 2019 Rugby World Cup play-off qualifications.

Odera has made seven changes to the team that swept aside the Leopards 51-35 in the historic clash as Kenya hosted its first Currie Cup Division One match last Saturday.

In the changes, Injera will replace Kabras Sugar’s Derrick Ashiundu as Beldad Ogeta paves way for the inform 2022 Kabeberi Sevens Most Valuable Player and KCB winger Jacob Ojee.

Injera and Ojee will be on the wings with another seasoned campaigner, Darwin Mukidza rounding off the back three.

In the pack, Kenya Cup champion Teddy Akala and Edward Mwaura have been replaced by Brian Waraba and Patrick Ouko as Michael Onsando and Thomas Okeyo do duties in the second row replacing Emmanuel Silungi and Davis Chenge.

The last change will see captain Dan Sikuta drop out in place of Martin Owila.

John Okoth and Vincent Onyala maintain their midfield partnership with half-backs Samuel Asati and Dominic Coulson completing the Simbas starting backline.

Patrick Ouko, Brian Waraba and Ephraim Oduor are the starting front row as George Nyambua, Owila and Bethuel Anami make up the back row.

Kenya is preparing for the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held in France in July but first have a quarter-final qualifier against Uganda.

The winner of the eight-team knockout competition will book a return to France 14 months later as Africa 1 at RWC 2023. The Africa 1 qualifier has been drawn in Group A alongside New Zealand, hosts France, Italy and Uruguay.

Currie Cup

Kenya Simbas v Elephants-4pm, RFUEA Grounds

Simbas Squad

15.Darwin Mukidza, 14. Jacob Ojee, 13. Vincent Onyala, 12. John Okoth, 11. Collins Injera, 10. Dominic Coulson, 9. Samuel Asati, 1. Patrick Ouko, 2. Brian Waraba, 3. Ephraim Oduor, 4. Malcolm Onsando, 5. Thomas Okeyo, 6. George Nyambua, 7. Martin Owila, 8. Bethuel Anami

Replacements 16. Teddy Akala, 17. Edward Mwaura, 18. Joseph Odero, 19. Brian Juma, 20. Davis Chenge, 21. Brian Tanga, 22. Bryceson Adaka, 23. Andrew Matoka