Ambaka completes Manawatu Turbos switch

Kenya Sevens star Willy Ambaka with Manawatu Turbos Coach Aaron Good when the deal was ...
Kenya Sevens star Willy Ambaka with Manawatu Turbos Coach Aaron Good when the deal was formalized. (PHOTO/

Manawatu Turbos have signed Willy Ambaka, ending weeks of speculation that a deal for the Kenya Sevens star to the New Zealand club was bound to fall through.

Widespread media reports had suggested the Turbos were considering pulling out in their pursuit for the speedy winger owing to visa complications but the club has now officially announced the signing.

“It is a pleasure to announce the signing of Kenyan sevens star and Olympian Willy Ambaka. The 27-year-old has come in search of a good environment to hone his fifteens skills, after showing the world what he can do in the faster version of the game,” the club wrote on their website,

Nicknamed the Kenyan Lomu for possessing one of the close impersonations of Jonah Lomu’s bumping charges on defenders, Ambaka said he was thrilled with the new challenge and looked forward to improving his game.

“I’m most comfortable on the right wing, but I’m looking at this as a learning experience, it’s always good to have a change of environment,” Ambaka said.

The Kenya Harlequins flyer is no stranger to the longer version of the game, having scored 6 times in 10 matches for Lyon as he helped them win promotion to the French Top 14 during the 2013-14 campaign.

Ambaka has experienced some special moments on the sevens circuit, such as being a key member of the team which led Kenya to its first ever stage win in Singapore, but has made it clear he wants to achieve some equally special fifteen’s aspirations.

“Super Rugby is definitely the goal, but I’m just really looking forward to putting in some good performances for the Turbos,” he added.

On top of that, Ambaka is also keen to soak in all New Zealand has to offer, although he may be hesitant about the odd thing.

“Some of the boys already want to take me skiing. I’m a little sceptical about that to be honest.”

Ambaka becomes the second player to ply his trade in New Zealand after Daniel Adongo and could make his Turbos debut in Saturday’s match against Freyberg.

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