Ambaka handed test debut
NEWS: Kenyan Sevens player Willy Ambaka will make his test debut against Tunisia on Saturday after being named in the team for the Rugby World Cup qualifier in Nairobi.
Kenyan coach Ian Snook said he had been impressed by the performance of the 28-year-old Ambaka during his stint with the top New Zealand top provincial club, Manawatu Turbos last year.
“Willy spoke to me after the Uganda game and indicated his interest so Roly [deputy coach Murray Roulston] and I did some research with Manawatu in NZ, where he had played and the reports were extremely positive,” said the New Zealand-born coach.
“We watched a bit of footage in the Manawatu colours and decided he would fit in well to this group. Now he has a chance to show how good he can be in XV’s, and we wish him all the best.”
Ambaka is one of only two changes to the side that started the 38-22 home win over Uganda last month, the other being Martin Owilah who came in as a substitute in all the three previous matches Kenya has played in the qualifiers.
Kenya are currently second behind leaders Namibia on 12 points after three successive wins in the African qualifying round for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The winner will earn direct qualification with the runner up proceeding to a global repechage tournament in Marseille, France in November against teams from Asia, the Americas and Europe for the last berth at next year’s global showdown.
The Kenyan team recently completed a three-day residential camp with the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) in Nanyuki, as the players sought to fine tune themselves ahead of the last two crunch games.