Kenya hope to grab final Rugby World Cup spot

first_imgKenya will feature in the play-offs after losing 53-28 to Namibia in the African qualifiers in August, and Snook has brought in five players from the country’s seven-a-side team to bolster his 30-man squad.“The sevens players have brought a good maturity to the squad. They are experienced people, they have been overseas, (they are) obviously quality players and so I think they have added an edge to the group and so we are looking forward,” Snook said.After Canada, Kenya will face Hong Kong on November 17 and Germany a week later.The winner in Marseille will join reigning champions New Zealand as well as South Africa, Italy and Namibia in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.Kenya squad: Patrick Ouko, Moses Amusala, Joseph Odero, Hillary Mwanjilwa, Ephraim Oduor, Colman Were, Philip Ikambili, Oliver Mangeni, Wilson Kopondo, Malcolm Onsando, Simon Muniafu, Andrew Omonde, George Nyambua, Dalmus Chituyi, Elkeans Musonye, Joshua Chisanga, Davis Chenge(capt), Martin Owilah, Samson Onsomu, Mohammed Omollo, Sammy Oliech, Darwin Mukidza, Leo Seje Owade, Peter Kilonzo, Collins Injera, Nelson Oyoo, Felix Ayange, William Ambaka, Tony Onyango, William Reeve.Share on: WhatsApp Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Kenya are hoping to clinch the final place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in next month’s play-off tournament, coach Ian Snook said on MondayA Kenyan victory at the round-robin contest would mark the first time for the 15s team at the World Cup.Head coach Ian Snook said he regards first round opponents Canada as the strongest opponent in the four-team repechage, which gets underway at Marseille’s Stade Delort on November 11.“They are all well-organised, well-prepared, and they are good quality sides at this level so no game over there is going to be easy,” Snook told AFP in Nairobi.“Canada are obviously well prepared, they have been together for a while, they are a professional organisation and they will be backing themselves to go to the World Cup again.“We will have to play well on the day because that’s what we are planning on doing, it will be a big task but nothing is impossible,” he said.last_img read more

McCutchen eager to be back with Pirates

first_imgIn this March 17, 2013 file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen smiles after batting practice before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees in Bradenton, Fla. McCutchen arrived at Pirates spring training early. The defending National League MVP is only too anxious to get on with an encore. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Andrew McCutchen was almost as busy this winter as he was last season, when he helped the Pittsburgh Pirates reach the National League playoffs.McCutchen batted .317 and set career highs with 38 doubles and a .404 on-base percentage. The center fielder earned his third straight All-Star berth, won his second Silver Slugger and was the NL Most Valuable Player.Days after picking up the MVP award, McCutchen flew to the West Coast to be a presenter at the American Music Awards. He played in Shane Victorino’s charity golf tournament in Maui, Hawaii. Back in Los Angeles in December, McCutchen proposed to his girlfriend, Maria, on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”After all that, McCutchen was happy to return to his native Florida and the relative calm of spring training. The Pirates held their first full-squad workout Tuesday.“I had way more distractions this year,” McCutchen said. “It was a quick offseason, but it was fun. I knew the quicker my offseason, the quicker the season starts and the quicker I’ll get married. That’s fine with me, so I embraced it.”The early part of McCutchen’s offseason was a whirlwind of appearances related to his status as reigning MVP. He’s the sixth Pirates player to win the award and received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes.But after his appearance on “Ellen,” McCutchen’s image as a baseball star also became that of a soon-to-be-married man.“I wasn’t surprised,” McCutchen said with a laugh. “I knew that after I proposed to her, people would totally forget about the MVP award. That’s as it should be.”However, McCutchen is all business now that spring training is under way. As usual, he came to camp with a personal to-do list that he shared with manager Clint Hurdle.“We get his thoughts on the work he’s done this winter and where his focus is this spring, and we’ll see if it matches up,” Hurdle said. “Every year I’ve been here, it pretty much has. Andrew usually comes with a couple focus points. His game continues to get better and more consistent. He sets the bar pretty high for himself.”This is McCutchen’s ninth spring training. He turned 27 on Oct. 10, the day after the Pirates were eliminated from the NL Division Series.As he’s become one of the game’s rising stars, McCutchen also is the “old man” of what could eventually be one of the most athletic outfields in the majors.Starling Marte (23 years old) will start in left field and top prospect Gregory Polanco (22) is expected to take over in right field at some point this season.“It will be a little different, being the older guy of the bunch,” McCutchen said. “I’m still young. They’re just younger.”Polanco will likely start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis, although management wants to give him a long look in camp. Tall, strong and lean, Polanco has dynamic speed and is still developing what scouts say should be plus power at the plate.“I watch (McCutchen) a lot because he plays the right way,” Polanco said. “I watch how he acts on the field, how he works, everything. I look at what he does, the different things, and see what will work for me. He’s like a teacher.”Notes: LHP Francisco Liriano was selected the Pirates’ opening day starter. Liriano was the NL Comeback Player of the year after going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA. He started the 2009 season opener for the Minnesota Twins. … Josh Harrison was the only player who did not report in time for the Pirates’ first full-squad workout Tuesday. Harrison’s wife had a baby last week, so the team gave him an extra day to arrive.last_img read more