Five different nationalities make up a 15-man Samurai Rugby squad for the 2018 edition of Safari 7s to be held in Nairobi on November 9-11.
Six past and present Kenya 7s players make the squad. This includes Patrice Agunda and Frank Lawrence of local side Kenya Harlequin, Mwamba’s Tony Owuor, Oscar Dennis of Nondies, Augustine Lugonzo of Homeboyz and Oscar Ouma - a 2017/18 HSBC World Sevens Series dream team member who captained shujaa in six of 10 legs of the HSBC Series last season.
English James Adamson of Newcastle Falcons is joined by Hugo Stiles from Hong Kong Rugby 7s, who also turns out for Bath University, in the Samurai squad to be coached by Welshman Nick Wakley.
Solomon Okia, who plays for Nairobi based Kenya Harlequin, is the only Ugandan in the squad.
Six South Africans named by Wakley are Western Province trio of Ruan Mostert, Josh Bassingthwaitghe and Braam Venter. The others include UWC’s Kurt Lee, Pieter Uys of Blue Bulls and Angus Van Niekerk of SA Select 7s & Maties 7s.
Wakely told Raga House that “the Samurai Team love coming to Kenya, with or without the Safari 7s but the fact that it returns this year after last year’s cancellation is fantastic news."
"We have had a few challenges getting the team together this year but we are just about there now so we are really looking forward to our visit. The atmosphere at the Safari 7s is something special, and the level of competition seems to increase each year.”
The 15-man squad will be trimmed to 13 in the coming days according to Wakley. South African Ian Campbell will coach Samurai alongside Wakley as Mwamba's Fahad Adil takes up team manager role while George Odhiambo and Kennedy Barua are listed as physio and assistant physio respectively.
The Samurai squad will come up against national sides like Kenya 7s, Kenya Morans, Portugal, Spain, Uganda, Namibia and Burkina Faso. National sevens champions Homeboyz, Cobras, Red Wailers and Apache 7s are the clubs confirmed so far by Kenya Rugby Union for Safari 7s.
Coached by former Kenya 7s and current USA 7s head coach Mike Friday and Wakley, Samurai 7s won the 2015 edition beating hosts Kenya 7s 20-19. They however failed to defend in 2016 after losing to an inspired Kenya 38-21 at Kasarani.
Samurai 7s squad for 2018 Safari 7s in Nairobi
1.Jamie Adamson (Newcastle Falcons Academy)
2.Patrice Agunda (Kenya)
3.Kurtl Lee Arende (Asia Pacific Dragons, Hamilton, UWC)
4.Josh Bassignthwaitghe (SA 7s Academy & Western Province)
5.Oscar Dennis (Kenya)
6.Frank Lawrence (Kenya)
7.Augustine Lugonzo (Kenya)
8.Ruan Mostert (SA 7s and Western Province)
9.Solomon Okia (Uganda)
10.Oscar Ouma (Kenya)
11.Tony Owuor (Kenya)
12.Hugo Stiles (Hong Kong and Bath Uni)
13.Peter Uys (Blue Bulls 7s and UWC)
14.Angus Van Niekerk (SA Select 7s & Maties 7s)
15.Bram Venter (Western Province & Maties 7s)
1.Nick Wakelye(Head Coach)
5.Kennedy Barua(Asst Physio)