JUNIOR TEAMS

Why Kenya Under 20 coach is upbeat ahead of Barthes cup

The Kenya under 20 team will be in action on Thursday 4 at the KCB grounds Ruaraka in Barthes cup action against Tunisia, the eventual winner qualifying for the 2019 Junior World Rugby Trophy.

With the final squad named, Chipu head coach Paul Odera is confident of a good performance from his team in the tournament, saying they have managed to come together very quickly as a team.

Speaking on the selection of the team, Odero said the coaching management looked at the experience of the players, which saw the captaincy and vice captaincy roles being handed to Kenya Harlequins’ Bonface Ochieng and KCB’s Samuel Asati respectively. The duo participated in last year’s competition. Player adaptability to patterns of play both in defence and attack was the other major area the coaching staff looked at.

“I’m very proud of everyone who has been in this team from the word go. What we’ve been looking to see within the training period we’ve had is those who are experienced, the likes of Bonface Ochieng and Samuel Asati who were there last year will take up the Captaincy and Vice Captaincy roles respectively this year. The second thing we were looking at from the team is those who are able to quickly adjust to the pattern of play expected in both attack and defense. We had to get a balance of personalities as well as players who can quickly adjust to the patterns of play,” said the experienced Odera, himself a former Kenya Fifteens and Sevens International in his heyday.

“This group of guys have a very special feel about them, which is what we’ve been saying as the Coaching Management. They have come together very quickly as a team, much quicker than we’ve had in the previous four years that we’ve been together as the management team, he concluded.

Kenya reached the finals in last year’s tournament, eventually falling 37-18 to Namibia in Windhoek.

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