Habimana backs Simbas trials to bring out the best

The national rugby 15s assistant coach Dominic Habinama has backed the upcoming series of trials to yield the best Simbas squad for the World Cup finals. The Simbas technical announced a selected technical bench that consists of the top four coaches in the Kenya Cup will oversee the matches at the RFUEA Grounds on April 29 as they bid to wring out the best among them. “Apart from the players already in camp, we want to have a look at several others on a fair platform that is competitive for over 60 plus players who will compete for the remaining spots,” Habimana said. Habimana also believes with the input of club coaches Menengai Cream Homeboyz tactician Paul Murunga, KCB Curtis Olago,Impala Saracens Frank Ndong and Kabras Sugar Charles Cardovillis set to oversee the previously selected players as well as a bunch of debutants fighting for a spot in the Snook coached side,the squad can only get better. “The idea of bringing on board the top four Kenya Cup coaches to bolster the squad is a positive step and beneficial in encouraging more brilliant ideas towards achieving our set goals,” Habimana added. Homeboyz coach Paul Murunga and his KCB counterpart Curtis Olago will take charge of team one as Impala Saracens coach Frank Ndong and Charles Cardovillis of Kabras will oversee  team 2. Team One which mainly consists of experienced forwards led by ever present Captain Wilson K’Opondo leading the pack with Oscar Simiyu,Oliver Mangeni,Vincent Mose among notable faces in the team. Team two has a powerful backline that consists of Impala Saracens halfbacks Nato Simiyu and Samson Onsomu who will be the tormentors in chief for that team. KCB duo of Darwin Mukidza and Jacob Ojee will be joined by burly Centers Leo Seje Owade and Nick Barasa in team 2. Kenya Sevens International Dennis Ombachi who has since recovered from a sport threatening injury has also been included in the Simbas squad and will fight for a chance to feature in the Kenya Simba squad. The trials set for this Sunday and next weekend will offer an opportunity for the technical bench led by newly appointed New Zealander Ian Snook and his assistants an opportunity to come up with a strong competitive side ahead of the World Cup qualifiers and Elgon Cup which are fast approaching. Encouraged by the new sense of optimism in the Simba’s dressing room since the appointment of New Zealander Ian Snook as the head coach, and his countryman, Roustlan Murray, as assistant coach, Habimana is confident all will go well as planned ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, which gets underway in June. “The mood in camp is very positive and confident,the players are up to task and they love the idea and positivity is key ahead of the trials this coming Sunday,” Habimana added. A 35 man squad will be on the final list to take part in the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup which serves as the African qualifying round for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan will be announced soon after the second trials. Head Coach Ian Snook and his assistant Murray Roulston will be looking for players who demonstrate a consistent high work rate, make good decisions and strong shoulder dominant tackles. As well they must demonstrate an awareness of team play against individualism, the trial will consist of 4 x 30 minute quarters with the majority of players playing for a maximum of 60 minutes,” read a statement from KRU. The following Sunday on May 6th there will be a final trial after which the squad will be finalised for the Elgon Cup and World Cup qualifiers. Kenya will kick off their six-nation African qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in Morocco on June 23, before hosting Zimbabwe a week later in Nairobi. The other competing nations are big boys Namibia, Tunisia and Uganda. The tournament winner will automatically qualify for the World Cup in Japan, while the second-placed team will be entered in a runners-up tournament that will involve a team each from America, Asia and Europe, offering them a second chance to qualify. Team 1 Coaches: Paul Murunga and Curtis Olago Oscar Simiyu, Moses Amusala, Joshua Matasi, Coleman Were, Frank Khalwale, Dennis Karani, James Wanjala, Isaiah Nyariki, Wilson Kopondo, Oliver Mangeni, Philip Kwame, George Nyambua, Peter Waitere, Davis Chenge, Steven Otieno, Mike Wanjala, Mohammed Omollo, Biko Adema, Levi Amunga, Isaac Adimo, Felix Ayange, Brad Owako, Max Kang’eri, Johnstone Mungau, Israel Soi, Dennis Muhanji, Aggrey Kitoi, Vincent Mose, Edmund Anya. Team 2 Coaches: Frank Ndong and Charles Cardovillis Thomas Okidia, Joseph Odero, Philip Ikambili, George Asin, Francis Mutuku, Patrick Ouko, Nelson Nyandat, Melvin Thairu, Eric Kerre, Malcolm Onsando, Andrew Chogo, Elkeans Musonye, Levi Ochieng, Peter Misango, Peter Karia, Martin Owila, Gabriel Adero, Samson Onsomu, Xavier Kipngetich, Michael Kimwele, Nato Simiyu, Henry Ayah, Jacob Ojee, Nick Barasa, Leo Seje Owade, Peter Kilonzo, David Ambunya, Tony Onyango, Dennis Ombachi, Darwin Mukidza, Michael Wanjala.

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