NAIROBI, — Kenya will seek maximum points if they are to attain their target of a top 10 finish as the curtains draws on this season’s rugby Sevens World Series with the final two rounds in Paris and London.
The national team, Shujaa, has had an erratic season as they transit and adapt to the new playing style of their coach Innocent Simiyu, who took over from Felix Ochieng.
With no Main Cup victory in the entire series and only three qualifications in the Main Cup quarters, the team must summon its hidden strength to slay the giant rivals it faces in London and Paris in order to finish in the top ten position.
Coach Simiyu has since called in Darwin Mukidza to the squad, being the only change to the Shujaa squad heading out to the final legs of the World Series starting with Paris next week (May 10-14).
Mukidza last played for Kenya during the first two legs of the series in Dubai and Cape Town and will be coming on board to replace veteran Collins Injera, who is out with a knee injury.
“We have trained very well for Paris and London. We expect that the players will play well just like they did well in Singapore, if not any better,” said coach Simiyu, Friday in Nairobi.
“We have only made one change. Collins Injera injured his knee and the doctors are looking at how best to manage it,” Simiyu said while commenting about Mukidza’s inclusion.
“We have brought in Darwin Mukidza, who is very good in the attack, very good in open play and the high ball. His physicality is quite good, having had an outstanding season,” he added.
With just two rounds remaining on the series, South Africa lead the standing with 157 points followed by Fiji 132, England 130 New Zealand (110) in fourth while giants Australia (94) are just outside the race for a top four finish, with the side currently in sixth position behind the USA (101 points).
The Pool draw for the Paris Sevens Canada as the top seeds after winning the eighth round of the series in Singapore.
The Canadians are drawn in Pool A with series leaders South Africa, Scotland and Japan. Pool B features Singapore runners-up USA who are drawn alongside New Zealand, Wales and Argentina.
England, who are third in the series standings, are in Pool C with Kenya, France and invitational side Spain, who were recent series qualifier winners in Hong Kong. Australia top Pool D and will face Fiji, Samoa and Russia on day one in Paris.
Kenya squad: Andrew Amonde (Captain), Derrick Mayar, Frank Wanyama, Dennis Ombachi, Bush Mwale, Sammy Oliech, Augustine Lugonzo, Eden Agero, Brian Tanga, Nelson Oyoo, Darwin Mukidza and Billy Odhiambo.