Chipu Heads to Scotland for 2024 World Rugby Junior Trophy

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Chipu Squad Unchanged for World Rugby Junior Trophy.
Nine Returning Players Provide Experience and Leadership.
Rigorous Training and Strategic Camps Enhance Preparedness.
Competing in Pool B, Aiming for Junior Championship.

As the Kenya U20 rugby team, affectionately known as Chipu, prepares to embark on their journey to Scotland for the World Rugby Junior Trophy, their story is one of continuity, growth, and meticulous preparation. The squad, unchanged from their triumphant run at the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy in April, carries with it the hopes and dreams of a nation passionate about rugby.

The Backbone of Experience

The Chipu squad features nine returning players from the 2023 World Rugby Junior Trophy, held in Nairobi. These seasoned players, including Geylord Ngasi, Andycole Omolo, and Iddo Kuta, bring invaluable experience and leadership to the team. Their familiarity with the pressures and demands of international competition is expected to be a significant asset as they face off against formidable opponents.

Rigorous Preparations and Strategic Training

Head Coach Simon Jawichre has left no stone unturned in preparing his team for the upcoming tournament. Reflecting on their journey since the Barthes Trophy, Jawichre emphasized the importance of competitive play and strategic training sessions. “Looking back since the Barthes Trophy, we really wanted our guys to play in the (Rugby) Super Series…a few made it there…quite a number trained without playing,” he said. These sessions were crucial in bringing the team up to speed, particularly in terms of mental preparedness and physical conditioning.

The team has undergone two intensive training camps, which included matchups against KCB, a top Kenyan club, and joint sessions with the Simbas, Kenya’s senior men’s fifteens team. These experiences have honed their skills, strengthened their mental resilience, and fine-tuned their game strategies.

Mental and Physical Fortitude

Jawichre highlighted the progress made by the team, noting the improvement in their physical and mental readiness. “These sessions helped our boys…it brought up to speed, especially on the mental side of things. When I look at them physically, there’s a few niggly things from the Super Series but all coming in good, they’re coming into shape,” he added. The focus has been on enhancing the players’ clarity and understanding of their roles within the team, ensuring a cohesive and well-coordinated unit ready to take on international challenges.

The Road Ahead

Chipu is set to compete in Pool B of the tournament, facing Uruguay on July 2, the Netherlands on July 7, and the USA on July 12. This marks Chipu’s fourth appearance at the World Rugby Junior Trophy, having previously competed in 2009 (Nairobi), 2019 (Brazil), and 2023 (Nairobi). Their consistent presence in this prestigious tournament underscores the growth and development of Kenyan rugby at the junior level.

The stakes are high, as the winner of this tournament will qualify for the 2025 World Rugby Junior Championship. The team’s journey to Scotland is not just about competing but about showcasing the talent and potential of Kenyan rugby on the world stage.

Support and Unity

In his closing remarks, Coach Jawichre extended a heartfelt appeal to all stakeholders, supporters, and well-wishers. “To all our stakeholders, KRU, our families, supporters near and wide, pray for us…keep us in prayer and support us in whichever other way you can,” he urged. The unity and support from fans and the rugby community will be a crucial pillar for the team as they strive for excellence.

Chipu Squad for World Rugby Junior Trophy 2024

Darrel Oluoch, Ian Nyandusi, Bramwel Mate, Brian Shile, Geylord Ngasi, Hafidh Mohammed, Eugene Etali, Cleyn Okumbi, Andycole Omolo, Eddy Otieno, Iddo Kuta, Wycliffe Ogutu, Nathan Tsindoli, Willy Tino, Edmond Omondi, Patrick Wainaina, Benedict Muiruri, Faran Juma, Philip Okeyo, Alvin Khavoli, Brian Kiptoo, Dennis Ndayala, Kipchirchir Bett, Elvis Otete, Eugene Ojiambo, Jackson Siketi, Michael Wamalwa, James Olela

Non-Travelling Reserves:
Jeremy Namiti, John Asega, Jeff Maina, Rogers Omanyi

Simon Jawichre (Head Coach), Qondani Katywa (Assistant Coach), Kenny Andola (Assistant Coach), Williams Motto (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Philip Wamae (Team Manager), Wacera Githua (Assistant Team Manager), Aysha Omar (Team Doctor), Samuel Ochieng (Physio)

Key Players to Watch in Chipu Squad
Geylord Ngasi – A returning player from the 2023 tournament, Ngasi brings invaluable experience and leadership to the team.

Andycole Omolo – Known for his versatility and skill, Omolo is expected to be a pivotal player in the matches.

Iddo Kuta – As a key player from the previous tournaments, Kuta’s performance will be crucial for Chipu’s success.

Michael Wamalwa – With his impressive physicality and strategic gameplay, Wamalwa is a significant asset to the squad’s forward pack.

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