Former Kenya Sevens back Felix Ayange will finally get his maiden 15s international cap when Kenya Simbas take on Uganda Cranes in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash on Saturday at the RFUEA grounds.
The 29-year-old Kabras Sugar player said he felt humbled to be selected and was ready for business in the duel that doubles up for Elgon Cup second leg and 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier.
Ayange, who has played at wing and fullback for Kenya “A”, Kenya Under-19 and Under-20, featured for Kenya Sevens for three season in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
“It feels good to finally make the first team, having player for Kenya “A,” said a delighted Ayange. “Obviously, the sevens and 15s set up are different hence a challenge but there is no pressure,” Ayange said.
“This is the national team and its always business anytime you get to wear the national colours.”
Ayange and his Kabras Sugar club mate Hillary Mwanjilwa are the only players set to earn their full Test debuts as coach Ian Snook Thursday effected four changes to the squad that beat Zimbabwe last weekend.
While Ayange gets to start, Mwanjilwa is on the replacement list as fellow second-row Oliver Mang’eni of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) gets to start.
Mang’eni has replaced Malcom Onsando (Kenya Harlequin), who has been left out. Mang’eni came off the bench in Simba’s last weekend’s 45-36 victory against Zimbabwe at the RFUEA grounds.
In other changes, KCB winger Jacob Ojee and Impala Saracens fullback Vincent Mose will make their first appearance for the Simbas this season, replacing Edmund Anya (Strathmore Leos) and Tony Onyango (Homeboyz) respectively.
Ojee and Mose missed the opening two rounds against Morocco and Zimbabwe due to academic and work related commitments respectively.
With Onsando out and Mang’eni starting, Snook has brought Impala Saracens second-row Simon Muniafu to the bench.
15.Vincent Mose (Impala Saracens), 14. Felix Ayange (Kabras Sugar/debut), 13. Peter Kilonzo (KCB), 12. Darwin Mukidza (KCB/Vice Captain), 11. Jacob Ojee (KCB), 10. Isaac Adimo (Kenya Harlequin), 9. Samson Onsomu (Impala Saracens), 1. Patrick Ouko (Homeboyz), 2. Colman Were (Kabras Sugar), 3. Joseph Odero (Kabras Sugar), 4. Andrew Chogo (Kabras Sugar), 5. Oliver Mang’eni (KCB), 6. George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), 7. Elkeans Musonye (Strathmore Leos), 8. Davis Chenge (KCB/Captain)
REPLACEMENTS 16. Peter Karia (KCB), 17. Moses Amusala (KCB), 18. Hillary Mwanjilwa (Kabras Sugar/potential debut), 19. Simon Muniafu (Decazeville, France), 20. Dalmus Chituyi (Homeboyz), 21. Martin Owilah (KCB), 22. Xavier Bett (Impala Saracens), 23. Biko Adema (Nondescripts)