Kenya rugby has uphill task to gain fitness before World Series kick-off

Nairobi, Nov 16 (IANS) Kenya’s Sevens team has marginal work to do to get itself in the right mind to compete at the World Rugby Series season opener in Dubai next month.

Innocent Simiyu, Kenya Sevens head coach, said, the three weeks period before the team tours Dubai will be critical to get them in shape and hope to launch a serious bid to win the elite Sevens rugby competition in the world, reports Xinhua.

The coach was speaking here on Tuesday after he returned home from the Safland Sevens tournament in Namibia, his first assignment since he was selected to lead Kenya team.

“Our trip was perfect. It was a learning session, some sort of bonding, to see which areas need to be polished and the tournament gave me the perfect chance to see it in competition,” Simiyu said.

“The team is on course and will use the remaining three weeks to firm up and ensure they are ready for the new season.”

The Kenya team, which is known as Shujaa, finished second after losing out 31-10 to defending champions South Africa.

“The outcome was what I had expected. It is where I had ranked them. There’s a lot of work to be done we hope we can try and catch up before Dubai,” he said.

The side played twice against the South Africans, losing 22-0 in the group stages before meeting again in the final.

But the challenge in Dubai will be stiffer and Simiyu is not expecting any walk in the park. Shujaa are polled in a tough group that has Australia, Japan and France and need to win two games to have any realistic chances of advancing to the Main Cup.

Kenya have changed their managers often with Simiyu taking over Benjamin Ayimba, who took the country to the Rio Olympics. Ayimba had succeeded South Africa’s Paul Treu.

Last season Kenya had their best show winning the Singapore leg and also had a massive 98 points at the end of the campaign.

Kenya squad: Andrew Amonde (captain), Oscar Ouma, William Ambaka, Frank Wanyama, Nelson Oyoo, Leonard Mugaisi, Dan Sikuta, Billy Odhiambo, Eden Agero, Bush Mwale, Martin Owila, Augustine Lugonzo, Brian Tanga, Aluda Beda, Darwin Mukidza, Derek Mayar.

–IANS

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