Kenya Sevens team may have been drawn in a ‘group of death’ at next weekend’s London Sevens, the ninth leg of the 2017/18 HSBC Sevens World Series, but head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu wants the national team to finish the season on a high note.
Shujaa, who are currently sixth on the standings with 93 points, will battle with Mike Friday’s USA in the opening Group C match on Saturday (1.42pm EAT) at the iconic Twickenham Stadium before facing France (4:48pm) and hosts England (8:16pm).
And having named a strong squad for the final two rounds of the series in London and Paris, the former national sevens and 15's captain is confident of a top eight finish as well as surpassing their 100-points mark target.
“Of course, there is a lot at stake in the remaining two legs. We are quite interested and keen on how we manage the environment to ensure the players give their best. If we win the tournament we can finish in the top five, but if we don’t get the results we can finish either seven or eight,” said Simiyu after naming his final squad at RFUEA Grounds yesterday.
“We are in the group of death, but our key focus is on the opening match against USA. It is vital to start with a win because it will help us relax a bit. If we perform well in that game, it will give us a good platform to tackle the next two games.”
Though the Vancouver and Hong Kong finalists will have to do without the services of Nakuru loose forward Oscar Ouma (personal commitment), Samuel Oliech (injury) and Daniel Sikuta (bereaved), they have been boosted by the return of captain Oscar Ayodi and experienced Dennis Ombachi from injuries.
Ayodi who has been sidelined since the Cape Town Sevens and Ombachi, who returns for the first time since the Dubai Sevens, have been joined in the traveling party by the duo of Herman Humwa (Kenya Harlequins) and Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar).
“We have a strong squad and we are well prepared for the two legs. Our key focus will be how we start in London, meaning that we hit our performance standards very early,” said Simiyu.
“Herman is a powerful runner, so that will help us a lot and Tanga is good in distributing the ball. Oscar and Dennis are bringing in a lot of experience. We are happy with the inclusion of these players ,” he said.