National rugby team, Silverbacks depart today for this year’s Kowloon 10s Rugby Fest, which is scheduled to run from March 22 through April 2 in Hong Kong.
The team leaves Kigali International Airport at 3:30pm aboard Qatar airways and will return on April 3.
The rugby Fest is expected to attract 24 teams divided into four pools, each comprising of 6 teams and playing in a round robin format.
The Silverbacks have been to the Kowloon 10s since 2010 but played the senior edition, the GFI Hong Kong 10s in 2013 where they made it to the Plate final.
Speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, the team manager, Tharcisse Kamanda, said, “The team is made of players selected from all local clubs; we chose the best (players) because our aim is to reach the final of the main cup.”
The final team of 14 players, which features a mixture of veterans and rookies, will be aiming to impress on their return to the annual competition after missing last year’s edition due to financial constraints.
In the forwards, the Silverbacks will be counting on the experience of prop Abdul Karim Ngango, hooker Barnabas Ngizwenayo and prop Jean Baptiste Itanzi (coach/players) to propel the team.
In the backline, the team will rely on the experience of centre Aimé Ndahirwa and Olivier Uwamahoro, who replaced the injured fly half Victory Umuhire.
Debutants on the team include; lock Gerard Niyoneza, centre Kevin Musonera and Scrumhalf Jean d’Amour Ishyimwe.
However, among the notable absentees from the team are; Forwards Issa Gatera and Patrick Kazungu and Flyhalf Lucien Ismael Bikamba.
Abdul Karim Ngango (Remera Bufalloes, Prop), Barnabas Ngizwenayo (Kigali Sharks, Hooker), Jean Baptiste Itanzi (Remera Buffaloes, Prop) Jean de Dieu Hakizimana (Sharks, Lock), Gerard Niyoneza (Remera Buffaloe, Lock).
Jean d’Amour Ishimwe (Thousand Hills , Srumhalf), Olivier Uwamahoro (Lion de Fer, Flyhalf), Laurien Hakizimana (Muhanga RFC, Center), Kevin Mukarage Musonera (U.R Grizzlies, Centre), Aimé Ndahirwa (Lion de Fer ,Center), Jean Paul Hajari (Remera Bufalloes, Winger) and Pierre Niyoyita (Thousand Hills, Winger)
Jean Baptiste Itanzi - coach/player
Tharcisse Kamanda - Team Manager