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New kit for Simbas as Minjire makes his debut

The Kenyan national rugby team has unveiled their new playing kit ahead of Saturday’s clash against Uganda which also doubles up as a Rugby Africa Division 1A encounter.

The kit features the Kenya Rugby Union’s headline sponsors SportPesa on the front with test partners Tatu City taking up the back of the shirt.

Speaking at the team naming ceremony, which doubled up as the kit launch, SportPesa representative Yvonne Namai said:

“It is a great pleasure to be part of the rugby fraternity. We are very happy that the first beneficiaries of this partnership are the Kenya Simbas who have been very impressive away from home. We look forward to their first home game this season, moreso as it is SportPesa’s first official interaction with the rugby fraternity.”

Oscar Mango, Kenya Rugby Union Director of National Squads and Elite Performance in his remarks thanked SportPesa for their support, while appreciating the efforts of KRU’s other partners namely Tatu City, communications partner Safaricom and broadcast partner Zuku who will air Saturday’s fixture live.

He called on the fans to appear in large numbers and cheer the team to victory.

MINJIRE’S DEBUT

Impala Saracens utility back Ian Minjire.
Impala Saracens utility back Ian Minjire.

Meanwhile, with the Elgon Cup-cum-Rugby Africa Division 1A  looming large, Impala Saracens utility back Ian Minjire has been handed his test debut as Nondescripts lock Ronnie Mwenesi makes a return to the team after a year-long injury.

Also making a comeback after a long hiatus is former Kenya Sevens international Patrice Agunda.

“Minjire has had a standout league season, playing a key role in steering Impala to second place in the Kenya Cup, and he definitely caught the eye,” team manager Simiyu Wangila said.

“Agunda brings experience, is strong offensively and on defense and will certainly light up the Simbas. Mwenesi gives us that muscle we need to bolster the front five. He too has lots of experience and will be vital to our plans on Saturday,” he added.

Oliver Mang’eni returns to the squad after missing the Southern Africa tour to work commitments. Other changes to the squad will see Lyle Asiligwa return for the first time since the 48-10 hack of the Cranes in Kampala on 4th June.

The Squad: 15. Tony Onyango, 14. Ian Minjire, 13. Nichodemus Barasa, 12. Patrice Agunda, 11. David Ambunya, 10. Nato Simiyu, 9. Edwin Achayo, 1. Moses Amusala, 2. Sammy Warui, 3. Curtis Lilako, 4. Ronnie Mwenesi, 5. Oliver Mang’eni, 6. Brian Nyikuli (captain), 7. Mike Okombe, 8. Tony Owuor
Replacements: 16. Peter Karia, 17. James Kang’ethe, 18. Jospeh Kang’ethe, 19. Simon Muniafu, 20. Max Adaka, 21. Lyle Asiligwa, 22. Isaac Adimo, 23. Innocent Simiyu