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High flying national 15s team play away in Windhoek today

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | July 16th 2016
National 15s players Fabian Olando (right) takes on Elton Isaiho during the 2014 Safari sevens tournament at Kasarani Stadium. The 15s side face Namibia today in Windhoek. [PHOTO: DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Kenya Simbas assistant coach Dominique Habimana expects Namibia to provide a tough obstacle when the two sides clash in today’s Africa Cup division 1A tie in Windhoek.

Kenya go into the match high on confidence after their wins over Zimbabwe (61-15) and Uganda (40-10) in the first two matches in the continental showpiece. Namibia beat Uganda 40-31 last weekend.

But having narrowly lost to Namibia (on points difference) in the 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, Habimana has urged his troops to treat the match seriously.

“The match is a very big one for us. We have been working very hard to clean up our away games. Last year we lost all our away games so we are trying to improve on that and so far it’s working out,” Habimana was quoted by The Namibian Newspaper.

“The last World Cup was a heart breaker for us because it was a three-team tie and we just lost out on points difference. But it was also an indication that the level of rugby at the top in Africa is improving and everyone is getting very competitive, so we look forward to that trend continuing and even more countries joining us at the top,” added Habimana.

However, after both teams’ victory over Uganda, the former Nakuru RFC coach is ready for an explosive encounter.

“Going from what we saw in Kampala from both Kenya and Namibia’s matches against Uganda, it’s going to be a very exciting game - very physical but also very creative, so I think its going to be a fantastic game to watch,” said Habimana.

“We know Namibia is very strong — probably our strongest competition in Africa, but we are prepared and looking forward to the game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kenya Simbas team manager Simiyu Wangila has declared to have a fully fit squad at their disposal ahead of today’s fixture against Namibia.

“We have no injuries concerns. Simon Muniafu has fully recovered from the knock he sustained in the win over Zimbabwe and has been training with the team. The boys are fired up and focused on the Namibian job,” said Wangila.

Elsewhere, former World Rugby Player of the Year Bryan Habana was overlooked Thursday when South Africa named a 12-man squad for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games sevens tournament add Agencies reports.

Club commitments with French giants Toulon limited the seven-a-side appearances of the Springbok winger, who has scored 320 points in 117 Tests. Now 33, Habana was part of the 2007 World Cup-winning squad and his electric pace made him a feared international opponent for more than a decade.

He played in the 2015 World Cup in England, where South Africa came third, but was not part of the squad for a 2-1 home series win over Ireland last month.

A former Springbok, centre Juan de Jongh, was included by coach Neil Powell and another, scrum-half Francois Hougaard, is a travelling reserve.

Kyle Brown skippers a squad that includes Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla, who turned out for Western Stormers in the early rounds of this Super Rugby season.

South Africa are in Group B with Australia, France and shock qualifiers Spain for the August 6-11 tournament.


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