Earlier this week Saracens Senior Sports Development Manager Owain Davies returned to Allianz Park after nine days coaching Kenyan Saracens Global Network team, Impala Saracens, writes Henry Fraser.
In what was his second visit to Nairobi in 2014, Davies was over in the African nation to provide help with coaching and player development at the Imapla Saracens club.
“I thoroughly enjoyed both visits,” said Davies. “I see a really impressive talent pool of players out there that require small touches to provide big improvements. Players are commonly very big, athletic and very committed. The area that will support improvement most is paying attention to the small details during sessions and changing the way training is carried out to raise intensity levels.
“When I went out there I looked to streamline a few areas to increase efficiency and intensity levels. It was something that was well received, the team carried it out and enjoyed this. I can’t really say it was just down to me as there are so many fantastic people involved with the Impala set up.”
Imapla Saracens have been associated with the Saracens club since January 2014, and during that time Saracens Technical Director Brendan Venter has also visited the Club. Davies, who also helped Impala prepare for the Safaricom 7s during his time in Nairobi, believes the club has openly embraced its new found partnership with the English Premiership League Winners.
“Players have Saracens t-shirts and the supporters that come and watch training and have a beer in the club all have Saracens shirts,” observed Davies. “They are an immensely proud club and they have really taken to the Saracens brand. I t has rejuvenated the club, and in terms of rugby development we are seeing success with Sammy (Oliech) and Ian (Minjire) doing so well in their time in the Saracens Academy, but there are loads of Sammy’s and Ian’s at Impala and Kenya. They are building for success”.
“I do see this as the beginning talking to other clubs in Kenya they are envious of this link we have with Impala. Rugby is a huge passion in Kenya and is ever developing.”
Owain finishes by talking of his best memories of his visit; “For me it would have to be about how welcoming the team and club were I didn’t feel like I was from a different team or club. It felt like I was a member of Impala Saracens. A home away from home.”