By Ayumba Ayodi
The 2015 champions, Samurai International, have included six Kenyan players in their squad for 2018 Safari Sevens rugby tournament starting Friday at the RFUEA grounds in Nairobi.
Samurai International’s squad also has players from England, Uganda and South Africa and will be coached by Welshman Nick Wakely, who led them to their only victory in 2015.
Some of the players with Kenya Sevens experience in the Samurai team is Oscar Ouma (Nakuru), who won the 2015 title with the team, Augustine Lugonzo and Tony Owuor (Homeboyz), Patrice Agunda and Frank Wanyama (Kenya Harlequin).
Oscar Dennis (Harlequins) is the other Kenyan in the squad that has six South Africans in the squad; Western Province trio of Ruan Mostert, Josh Bassingthwaitghe and Bram Venter.
The others are Kurt Lee (University of Western Cape), Pieter Uys (Blue Bulls) and Angus van Nierkerk, (SA Select 7s and Maties 7s). Solomon Okia from Uganda and Briton Hugo Stiles are also in the team.
Samurai lost to Kenya Sevens 38-21 during the 2016 final when the last event was held.
Meanwhile, the Safari Sevens organising committee and the Kenya Rugby Union will announce the draw for this year’s tournament on Wednesday at 10am at the RFUEA ground.
A statement from the Union indicated that they will also use this function to give a brief on transport, security and ticketing plans for the tournament.
World Series core team Spain are among 12 teams that have confirmed participation in this year’s Safari Sevens.
Spain, which finished 11th in the 2017/18 Sevens Series season, will be joined by Iberian neighbours Portugal, a former World Rugby Sevens Series core team.
Other teams heading to Nairobi include British sides Apache Sevens, Red Wailers and Samurai Sevens, South African side Cobras, Uganda, Namibia and Burkina Faso, who are making their first appearance.
Besides Shujaa and Morans, Kenya will be represented by National Sevens Series champions Homeboyz.