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Province sign Kenyan flyer


  • 31 Jul 2014
Willy Ambaka in sevens action Willy Ambaka in sevens action

Powerhouse Kenyan winger Willy Ambaka will join up with Western Province ahead of the Currie Cup.

Ambaka, who first rose to prominence as a sevens player, has been plying his trade over in France with Lyon Olympique Universitaire. Having helped his side to the French Division II Championship earlier this year, he will return to Africa as he continues to build on a promising start to his 15-man career. Standing 1,95m tall and weighing in at 100kg, Ambaka will add a different dynamic to the Province back three, something that coach Allister Coetzee is well aware of.

'He is a strong runner with plenty of pace and tremendous aerial skills. He's an exciting addition to our playing ranks. But his on-field abilities aside, Willy is a true professional who is looking forward to joining Western Province and being a part of the exciting brand of rugby being played here at Newlands.'

The 24-year-old Ambaka was one of three nominees for the IRB Sevens Player of the Year Award in 2013, eventually losing out to New Zealand's Tim Mikkelson. It was his performances for the Kenyan national side, though, that alerted Western Province to his talent.

'We first heard about Willy through Jerome Paarwater who has been working with the Kenyan 15-a-side team and very nearly helped them qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup,' said Coetzee. 'Our Western Province selection played against Willy and the Kenyan side in Nairobi in June and, of course, we have done plenty of research on him on top of that.'

Ambaka, who is equally adept on the wing or at centre, is expected to join up with his new teammates next week.

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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