Simbas eye revenge against Zimbabwe
National men’s rugby 15s team, Simbas, will be playing for nothing but pride when they host Zimbabwe in their last Victoria Cup match at the Nakuru Athletic Club today.
The Sables, as the Zimbabwe team is known, head to the showdown high on confidence having been confirmed as champions of the four-team tournament following the 41-5 win over Zambia last weekend.
Zimbabwe, the only team with a perfect record in this year’s Victoria Cup, arrived in the country on Thursday morning and headed to Nakuru where they held a light training session at the Menengai High School ground.
Simbas’ inconsistency in the competition has seen them register three wins and two losses and today’s dead rubber tie provides them an opportunity to avenge the 30-29 loss suffered to Zimbabwe in the reverse fixture in which the East Africans were undone by inaccuracy from the kicking tee.
Kenya coach Paul Odera has named a new-look team from the one that beat Zambia 31-16 last month with 10 uncapped players, including Vincent Onyala of Kenya Sevens team, making the cut.
The others who are in line to make their maiden appearance for the senior national team are Timothy Okwemba, Frank Mutuku, Elisha Koronya, Ian Masheti, Brian Juma, Samuel Were, Barry Robinson, Tony Omondi and Michael Kimwele.
“It is always a special time for players, their clubs and families to earn a call up to the Simbas.
“There are those who have worked hard but not made the team and they need to maintain their work ethic and focus,” Odera said after naming his team which has an average age of 22 years.
“Indiscipline has led to the breaking of training protocols and as a result a number of the familiar faces have been dropped as we head to the last test match of the season,” said Odera.
In the absence of Curtis Lilako, Impala Saracens scrum-half Samson Onsomu will captain the Simbas in the match which starts at 4 pm.
Onsomu will be deputised by his Impala teammate Elkeans Musonye and Malcolm Onsando of Kenya Harlequin.
Simbas have lost all their last three home matches which have been played away from the RFUEA ground and they will be seeking to break that hodoo.
Zimbabwe coach Brendan Dawson says his team was ready to inflict a second defeat on the Kenyans.
“Having won the title last month, we are equally ready to silence the Simbas to end our quest for top honours on a positive note.
“However, we are not going to underrate our opponents since it a tough side,” Dawson said yesterday fater training.
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