Kenya call up sevens star Ambaka for Tunisia tie

Kenya Sevens star Willy Ambaka has been called up by Ian Snook to feature in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup for the 15-man side EPA/Tony Avelar

Kenya Simbas coach Ian Snook has roped in Rugby Sevens star Willy Ambaka ahead of Saturday's Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash against Tunisia in Nairobi.

The Simbas are six points behind log leaders Namibia with a match in hand in the race for this year's Gold Cup, whose winners also automatically qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Kenya have won all three of their matches to date but are yet to earn a bonus point, making the task of catching up with trailblazing Namibia much more difficult.

Snook is however determined to ensure his men produce a polished display against a tricky Tunisia side who upset Zimbabwe 18-14 last month for their only win of the campaign.

Ambaka is one of two changes the Kiwi coach will make to his starting line-up as he seeks to freshen up things, with Martin Owila also starting ahead of George Nyambuwa.

"Willy spoke to me after the Uganda game and indicated his interest so Roly and did some research with Manawatu in New Zealand where he had played previously and the reports were positive," Snook told the Kenyan Rugby website.

"We watched a bit of footage in the Manawatu colours and decided he would fit in well with this group. Now he has a chance to show how good he can be in the fifteens and we wish him well."

Kenya started their Gold Cup campaign with a 28-24 win away to Morocco before edging Zimbabwe 45-36 in another cliff-hanger.

They overpowered Uganda 38-22 in round three, but Snook is not underestimating the challenge of Tunisia, who are one of four teams still in danger of relegation.

"I know they beat Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe ran us close. I have seen their other results and watched their games so I know it will be a physical game which will take the normal 100% effort from the boys. Tunisia have been in town all week so will have had plenty of time to fine tune and be well prepared," Snook said.

Kenya complete their Gold Cup campaign with a tough trip to Namibia next week.

In the other Gold Cup encounter set for Saturday, third-placed Uganda could move clear of relegation trouble with victory at home to bottom-placed Morocco.

Kenya squad:

Starting XV -- 1. Patrick Ouko, 2. Colman Were, 3. Joseph Odero, 4. Andrew Chogo, 5. Oliver Mang'eni, 6. Martin Owilah, 7. Elkeans Musonye, 8. Davis Chenge, 9. Samson Onsomu, 10. Isaac Adimo, 11. Jacob Ojee, 12. Darwin Mukidza, 13. Peter Kilonzo, 14.Willy Ambaka, 15. Vincent Mose

Replacements -- 16. Peter Karia, 17. Moses Amusala, 18. Hillary Mwanjilwa, 19. Malcolm Onsando, 20. George Nyambua, 21. Mohamed Omollo, 22. Maxwell Kang'eri, 23. Tony Onyango