They have been termed as giant slayers and their prowess in the field is not directly equivalent to their size from Faf De Clerk in South Africa to Brian Tanga in Kakamega and Brian Wahinya in Kenyatta University, they certainly slay giants.
Blakblad’s Wahinya is proof of the phrase, “Size doesn’t matter in rugby”, at 22 years he has already worn the national team’s jersey, an opportunity he terms golden and a dream come true.
Scrummage made a trip to Kenyatta University where the fast-rising star studies and dug out a few things regarding his career. Wahinya says he began playing rugby in 2012 when he joined St.Marys Yala school, a journey he has not thought of engaging the reverse gear.
“I started playing rugby in 2012 immediately I joined St. Marys Yala for high school education.”
Wahinya took the halfback position which he plays to date and he says his small size suited.
“I have been a scrumhalf all along, it’s a position small people are considered to be good in.”
Being in a sporty region which had rugby powerhouses like Maseno school laid a concrete foundation and moulded him to be an effective player.
“My high school rugby was so competitive and that was the strong foundation which made us good players.”
His hard work bore fruits when they qualified for the national secondary school games and won the Yala opening tournament in 2014 and 2015 respectively. While other sports careers hit the end after the completion of high school, Wahinya was determined to push it to the limit. In 2016 he joined the Impala Rugby Academy where he had a short stint before moving to Kenyatta to continue playing at the same time service his studies.
At Blak Blad, Wahinya says it has been a good experience full of good spirit and a good learning environment.
“It’s been a great learning experience, great teammates, an awesome environment and great spirit.”
He plays alongside high school buddies such as Allan Ominde and Arcadius Khwesa who he says troubled them during secondary school games.
“In high school, I played alongside (Allan) Ominde who is a teammate now, Derrick Ludenyo from Oilers and (Arcadius) Khwesa; the speed of light who gave us trouble then.”
On national duties, he made his debut in the national jersey in 2018 Victoria 7s in Zimbabwe, played in the Africa 7s tournament in Tunisia and later on made his HSBC 7s debut in Dubai under coach Paul Murunga.
“I played in Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Las Vegas and Vancouver in the HSBC 7s and I remember making my first try against Argentina in Hamilton.”
Wahinya, who hopes to turn into a professional soon like other sportspersons, has had hurdles since his high school days especially regarding physical size but draws determination via his motive.
“In high school I was largely criticised because of my size and told to quit rugby, that was, however, my motivation. I would sneak in the gym in midnight hoping to one day be good at this. Balancing books and rugby has also been a challenge but I ensure I give attention to both.”
He does not fail to mention the setback injuries caused to a player and has had to endure injuries at some point, including a knee injury that cut short his World 7s Series campaign last season.
At Blakblad, Wahinya has won the varsity league and KUSA 7s late last year. The fourth-year exercise and sport science student advises fellow young and upcoming players not to give up on their dreams and above all work hard.
He views his teammate Kelvin Gathu and Oilers’ Davis Nyaundi as some of the youngsters who are set for greatness. The Scrum-half attributes his success to his coaches from high school to his current club and teammates.
“My coaches from the late Tim Okullu aka Kush, Nick Abok, Michael tank Otieno, Benard Rotich, Motto Williams and all my teammates from high school to Blakblad have shaped my rugby career.”
Wahinya fact file:
Name: Brian Wahinya
Age : 22
School: St.Marys Yala High School
University: Kenyatta University
Course: Exercise and Sports Science
Achievements: 2019 KUSA 7s, Varsity League, 2018 Africa Men’s 7s finalist, Victoria Cup winner