Shujaa aim higher in Edmonton

South Africa's Sakoyisa Makata, right, gets his hand to the face of teammate Christie Grobbelaar, back, as they tackle Kenya's Alvin Otieno during an HSBC Canada Sevens rugby game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (AP)

Kenya national rugby sevens team Shujaa is aiming to win the Edmonton Sevens this weekend when the final tournament of the 2021 World Sevens Series gets underway this evening.

Following a second-place finish at the Vancouver Sevens, Shujaa will take on USA, Spain and Chile in Pool B when the action kicks off at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in Canada.

Just like Vancouver, the men’s Series competition sees 12 teams divided into three pools of four teams each.

Pool A has Vancouver champions South Africa who will battle it out with Canada, Hong Kong, and Mexico as the final Pool has Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and Jamaica.

Kenya will start their day one action against Chile at 7:53 pm East African Time before taking on Spain at 11:04 pm

Shujaa will wrap up their day action against USA at 2:35am tomorrow.

Kenya Sevens who are placed second after the opening round with 18 points will be hoping to feature in the finals to improve their title chances.

Shujaa head coach Innocent Simiyu said he trusts the team to do better than Vancouver and replicate their title winning year of 2016 at Singapore Sevens.

“We played well last week in Vancouver and reaching the finals shows how good the team is growing into after past disappointments.

“However, we still need to improve on our kick off, ball handling and turning defence to attack especially when playing against top and stronger sides,” Simiyu said.

Simiyu also heaped praise on his new boys who he said expressed themselves fully at Vancouver despite it being their first World Sevens Series tournament.

The players handed debuts were Levy Amunga, Derick Keyoga, Timothy Mmasi and Alvin Marube who all scored their first tries for Shujaa in the circuit.

The Series title will be awarded in Edmonton where the team with the most points after the Edmonton Sevens will be crowned 2021 champion.

Core sides Fiji, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Samoa, and France are not in this this event.

Given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, there will be no relegation from the 2021 Series and the results will not contribute towards seeding for any other future events.

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