We chat to Humphrey Kayange who is a highly successful Kenyan 7’s player and started playing professional rugby at 26. Now 32, Humphrey weighs in at a whopping 107 kg and is a monstrous 6 foot 5. We caught up with him while he was in Cape town. What a great guy.
How did you get in 7’s? When did you know you wanted to play rugby?
I used to play soccer, I have always been active in sports. In high school there was a school selection for the soccer team and myself and a friend didn’t make it, so we were trying to think of another sport. We thought of rugby and just rocked up, we made the squad. So that is how I got into rugby and while I was playing at school, all the top schools play against each other, my passion grew for it. Then went to University and started playing for a club there, I was selected from 15’s to 7’s. I had played 15’s for a while but for the last 6/7 years it has been 7’s.
What do you enjoy about 7’s?
It’s really fun to play, I enjoy all the space to run. As a player you test your different skills. There are only 7 players with the same size pitch as 15’s. You have to concentrate on your awareness, defence and attack the whole 7 mins, you can’t let you guard down once otherwise the opposition will score. I like the pace.
You unfortunately injured yourself, what happened and how did you do it?
It happened in the Common Wealth games while we were playing NZ. I was going to tackle an NZ player and my foot got caught in between the NZ players legs and then we fell so all the weight landed onto my foot. I have dislocated my perennial ligaments.
Is this your worst injury?
It is my worst one yet, I have been fortunate up till now.
Any rituals in the team?
Yes, obviously we have initiation for the new players and war cries before the game. Many of the team members are from different tribes so each tribe must sing or do something to represent their tribe.
The toughest teams to play are RSA- because it’s the competition to be “the best’ in Africa. Fiji- because they unpredictable. NZ- because every time we play them they have bought something new to the table, it’s always a different game from the previous one.
What side of the family do you think you get your height from?
I would say my mother’s side, she is not very tall but I can see by her other family members that is where it comes from.
How does it feel to play for your country with your brothers?
It is a great experience, our parents are very proud of us. It’s amazing, I get to travel the world and share special moments with the people I love. Our whole motto in the team is to be brothers so I suppose actually having brothers in the team makes the brotherhood stronger.
Who are your role models?
Well when I was growing up everybody knew who Jona Lomu was so I used to look up to him and want to be like him. Also Hussain Bolt ( people say we lookalike ha ha ha)
Difference between Kenya and SA?
The only thing I have noticed is in Cape Town, if it is sunny and warm people are happy but when it’s cold people are grumpy ha ha ha
What have you been up to while you have in Cape Town?
We went wine touring, took a drive to Cape Point and the sunset was incredible and visited the Waterfront. I can’t do too much because of my foot but I love it here so I plan on coming back and being a tourist.