x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

At long last a taste of Dubai for Xodus Wasps’ Victor Sudi

Rather than playing in front of Kenya’s doting supporters at The Sevens, Victor Sudi hopes to be part of them, for once.

Victor Sudi, centre, a former captain of Kenya's national team, is enjoying his time with Xodus Wasps. particularly when he gets to plow through an opponent's defense. Antonie Robertson / The National
Victor Sudi, centre, a former captain of Kenya's national team, is enjoying his time with Xodus Wasps. particularly when he gets to plow through an opponent's defense. Antonie Robertson / The National

A former Kenya captain, who played 19 tournaments on the IRB world series, is hoping finally to complete the set of major competitions by appearing at the Dubai Sevens next month.

The stakes will be rather different for Victor Sudi this time around.

Rather than playing in front of Kenya’s doting supporters at The Sevens, he hopes to be part of them, for once.

That is when his playing commitments with Xodus Wasps in the Gulf League competition permit.

Maybe he will get the chance to play on Pitch 1 in front of 40,000 people if Wasps reach the final of that competition, thus fulfilling an ambition that always evaded him during seven seasons with his national team.

“I always just missed Dubai because of work, class or injury – this actually is my first time playing in Dubai,” said Sudi, who first played for Kenya in 2003 while still a student at the University of Nairobi. “Everywhere Kenya play on the series they are well supported. It was tremendous.

“The Kenyan brand of rugby is very fast and entertaining, everyone loves that.

“The fans loved us and we had fans all over. I’m definitely looking forward” to the Sevens.

Sudi opted to join Wasps at the suggestion of his compatriot and now club-colleague Dave Matasio when his job with British American Tobacco brought him to Dubai this summer. After two defeats at the start of the UAE Premiership campaign, the new-look Wasps side face another tough assignment when they play the defending-champions Dragons this afternoon.

“The standard of rugby here is good, and Wasps are getting more competitive the more games we play,” said Sudi, who represented Kenya’s sevens side between 2003 and 2010. “I have only had two games and we have been picking up. We have been training very well and the loss to Quins was only down to a few mistakes.

“We have worked on them during the week and we are hoping for an improvement against the Dragons.”

Sudi was the headline figure in a busy summer of recruitment at Wasps, as Dubai’s youngest Premiership club seek to establish themselves in the top flight of the domestic game.

“The planned steady growth of Xodus Wasps is complemented by the immediate impact players with such experience bring,” said Craig Gibson, the club’s chairman.

pradley@thenational.ae