Silverbacks eye title in Kowloon 10s

Preparations for the annual Kowloon 10s Rugby Fest are underway as the Silverbacks seek to better their previous outcomes at the annual tournament.
Silverbacks during a light training session at the Rugunga ground this week. (Stephen Kalimba)
Silverbacks during a light training session at the Rugunga ground this week. (Stephen Kalimba)

Preparations for the annual Kowloon 10s Rugby Fest are underway as the Silverbacks seek to better their previous outcomes at the annual tournament.

A 13-man squad will set off for Kowloon, Hong Kong on March 20 and the competition starts on March 25. The Kowloon 10s is the second-tier league to the Hong Kong 10s.

The Silverbacks debuted in the GFI Hong Kong 10s in 2010 and have been to the Kowloon Rugby Fest in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Silverbacks didn’t take part last year due to financial constraints.

Rwanda Rugby Federation (FRR) Technical Director, Jean Baptiste Itanzi, said, “We want to make it to the final this time round. We made it to the semis last time, but this time we have young blood. We have players who played at the Safaricom U-19 last year, and we are much improved.”

Itanzi, a veteran prop for the Gorillas added, “We started training on February 9, we have been meeting twice a week but starting next week we will be training 4 days a week.”

Meanwhile, the Gorillas RFC French coach Benjamin Veyrac says, “It’s a short notice with the tournament coming up in 3 weeks which means the teams need to train more in offense tactics, field movement and speed however, the defence is good.”

A provisional squad of twenty players has been called from six clubs in the league. Only U.R Grizzlies is not represented. The number will be cut down to 13 players, who will make the trip to Hong Kong.

Provisional squad:

Forwards—Abdul Karim, Jean de Dieu Hakizimana, Gerard Niyoneza, Barnabas Ngizwenayo, Didier Kamanzi, Patrick Kazungu, Jean Leonard Twizeyimana, Victorien Umuhire and Issa Gatera.

Backs—Pierre Niyoyita, Laurien Hakizimana, Kevin Mukarage Musonera, Lucien Bikamba, Aime Ndahirwa, Jean d’Amour Ishimwe and Migusha

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