Kenya Exiles, a rugby outfit made up of Kenyan players in the U.S. recently reached the semifinals of the annual Cape Fear Sevens tournament in North Carolina.
Captained by Ronn Omondi, Kenya Exiles included guest players Matt Blazik ‘migingo’, Pablo Martinez and Doug Coffey in this tournament which attracts a good sprinkle of some of the top clubs in the U.S.
Drawn in a tough pool which had New York Old Blues, Charlotte and 1823, Kenya Exiles drew 19-19 with New York Old Blues before beating Charlotte 24-5.
They led 17-0 before narrowly losing to 1823 in the last pool match. The quarter finals saw Kenya Exiles beat New York Old Blues 27-5 before losing 0-19 to Pacific Islanders.
It was Pacific Islanders who lost to Southern Gentlemen in the final of the tournament which was in its’ 10th year.
Kenya Exiles which was managed by David Wagura, a former Kenya backrow also fielded a second side in the social category. This side captained by Dennis Asava also reached the semifinals.
They beat Navy Exiles 42-0, drew 12-12 with Carolina Swagger and overran University of Kentucky 24-12. Kenya Exiles then beat Carolina Swagger ‘B’ 24-7 to top their pool. In the quarter final, Kenya Exiles II beat Kudus 34-0 before meeting their match in Cherry Point losing 0-25 in the semi finals.
Andrew Onyuna, the vice captain who was vice captain said Kenya Exiles were always the crowd favorites with their “Kenyan” brand of running rugby.
“It is always a good way to re-unite with the players and include some of our adopted players,” he said.
It is the Kenya Exiles who always rally support for the national seven-a-side rugby team whenever they play in the International Rugby Board Sevens Circuit in the U.S.
Some of the Kenya Exiles players have turned out for the national team. They are Richard Mulaha, Ernest ‘Marine’ Waweru, Arnold Odera, and Leslie Mango.
Others like Kenneth Kanyi, Mark Kamatu and Caleb Tanui have had distinguished club representation. Some 150 matches were played during the tournament.
Kenya Exiles A: Ronn Omondi (Captain), Mark Kamatu, Arnold Odera, Richard Mulaha, Kenneth Kanyi (Vice Captain), Bruce Mackenzie, Caleb Tanui, Kevin Ndongi, Doug Coffey, Matt Blazik "migingo", Thomas Ojulu "Madondo", Pablo Martinez.
Games and results: Kenya Exiles 19 New York Old Blues 19, Kenya Exiles 24 Charlotte 5, Kenya Exiles 17 1823 19; Quarter final: Kenya Exiles 27 New York Old Blues 5; Semi-final: Kenya Exiles 0 Pacific Islanders 19; Final: Southern Gentlemen beat Pacific Islanders.
KENYA EXILES II: Andrew Onyuna Mabruki (vice Captain), Dennis Wasonga, Raymond Moses Akinola, Ernest Waweru, Tony “Mugo”, Kaki Muniafu (team manager), Dennis Asava (captain), Sam Mbugua, Fadi “Mtizedi”, Pablo Martinez, Matt Blazik
Results: Kenya Exiles II 42 Navy Exiles 0, Kenya Exiles II 12 Carolina Swagger 12, Kenya Exiles II 24 University of Kentucky 12, Kenya Exiles II 24 Carolina Swagger B 7; Quarter final: Kenya Exiles II 34 Kudus 0; Semi final: Kenya Exiles II 0 Cherry Point 25. Tournament Champions: Men’s Premiere (Southern Gentlemen); Women’s Premiere: (NOVA 1); Men’s Club (Kudus); Men’s College (Virginia Tech); Men’s Social A (Pink Panthers); Women’s Social (NOVA 2); Men’s Social B (Carolina Swagger); Men’s under-19 (Charlotte Tigers).
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