YEAR IN REVIEW: Youngsters take rugby scene by storm
The year 2017 will go down in the history of Kenya rugby as one that gave rise to youthful talents in the national sevens circuit.
Menengai Oilers and MKU Thika proved to be a reservoir of talents; churning out some players who impressed as their clubs held their own in the top flight.
Oilers and MKU Thika are coached by two former Shujaa teammates turned tacticians, Gibson Weru and Peter Mutai – both legends of the game whose coaching impact is felt in every rugby corner in the country.
Not only have the duo moulded youngsters but also instilled confidence in them, pushing their bodies to fulfill their potential.
Among the notable youthful faces that impressed in the season are Harun Anduvate, Samuel “Smurf” Muregi (both of Oilers), Alex Arturo (Mwamba RFC), Mark Kwemoi (Impala RFC) and Menengai Homeboyz’s Jeff Oluoch .
Anduvate, the bulky swift Oilers skipper, rose to the sevens scene after scooping the player of the tournament award at the Driftwood Sevens in Mombasa, and captaining the team to two finals at the Kabeberi Sevens .
Anduvate also crowned the befitting run of form by being named in the team of the tournament at the second round of the circuit at the Kabeberi Sevens in Nairobi.
At the Sepetuka Sevens held in Eldoret, he was also the only player from the Oilers to make it to the team of the tournament
Muregi, 20, another emerging star, also ruffled feathers with the best talents on parade, proofing that age, after all, is just but a number.
Muregi, a hard runner and tackler, who at the same time possesses pace and intelligence, will mostly be remembered for his individual performance at the Sepetuka Sevens where he scored a solo try in the dying seconds of the game to knockout strong opponents Harlequins 24-29 after extra-time, in what turned out to be collective and individual brilliance.
In an interview with Citizen Digital, Oilers head coach and former Kenya Sevens star, Gibson Weru, said that it was “clear that both tier-one and tier-two teams have stepped up their game, which he argued, was evident with the results of the circuits.
“In my position as Oilers head coach, I am satisfied with the outcome and I believe rugby has really grown. Youngsters are coming up well and are not shying away from competing with the best which is good for the sport.”
Meanwhile, Mwamba RFC pacy winger, Alex Arturo, scooped the top scorer with eight tries to his name in the Sepetuka Sevens.
Arturo, at only 21, and who formally played for Mount Kenya University , another tier-two side that caused ripples by thrashing wounded Kenya Cup sides, joined Mwamba RFC a few months ago and with no time, his presence had been felt in Kenya rugby spheres.
In an interview with Citizen Digital, he said: “All men are created equal, the only difference is that some work harder during the pre-season, and my success is as a result of hard work, focus, discipline and above all, fear of God.”
On the same vein, Jeff Oluoch, 22, captained his team, Menengai Homeboyz, to the top of the log of the national sevens circuit where the Deejays finished at the top of the circuit on 68 points, five ahead of the Kakamega based side, Kabras Sugar, who accumulated (63)points.
Oluoch, at his tender age, captained his fellow teammates who are way older and experienced than him; leading the likes of Augustine Lugonzo, Oscar Ayodi, Joshua Chisanga and many other internationals.
Apart from that, Oluoch is the Homeboyz top scorer with 22 tries and was even named in the Sepetuka Sevens dream team. For the Young Turks, the future can only get better
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