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Paul Odera picks Simbas squad to start virtual training

Kenya U20 rugby coach Paul Opera reacts during their Under 20 Africa Rugby Barthes Cup match against Tunisia at the KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka on April 04, 2019. Kenya won 73-0. [Stafford Ondego, The Standard]

Kenya 15’s Head of programmes, Paul Odera, has called up 102 players to the 2021 Simbas training squad that will kick off preparation with virtual sessions.

The decision has been necessitated by Government directive on Covid-19 protocols.

This initial squad will undergo a series of assessment tests after which the team will be narrowed down to 50 players and later, a final list of 30 players who will compete in this year’s Rugby Africa Cup.

The management has scheduled several training camps that will either be virtual or face to face, depending on the next directive on Covid-19 protocols.

This is in preparation for the Stellenbosch camp in June followed by the RA cup in July 2021 where the Simbas will host Senegal and Zambia.

After all sporting activities were halted early last year, the Simbas carried on with their weekly sessions only that they were held via zoom with players completing the tasks provided by either the head coach or the strength and conditioning coach Mike Owino or the emotional intelligence lead, Nandi Kegode.

“The squad includes those named in 2020 as well as additional players selected using footage and data from current Kenya Cup season which was suspended on March 26 and international matches for overseas-based players.

"Chairman of selectors Kirori Mindo, fellow selectors Victor Sudi and Mitch Ocholla looked at six protocols on attack and defence,” said Odera.

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Meanwhile, the ACT Brumbies will defend their Super Rugby AU title against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next week after beating the shorthanded Western Force 21-9 in a tight semi-final playoff in Canberra yesterday.

The Force fought to the bitter end but playing for 20 minutes with only 14 men after Toni Pulu was shown a red card took its toll in such an attritional battle. 

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