Kenya Sevens rugby coach defends team’s dismal show

Beaudein Waaka (R) of New Zealand pokes Samuel Oliech of Kenya in the eyes on day one of the USA Sevens Rugby tournament, part of the World Rugby Sevens Series, March 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. / AFP PHOTO / David BECKER

Kenya Sevens coach Innocent Simiyu has defended his team’s performance despite their poor results in the final two legs of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby IRB Series.

This undoubtedly is one of Kenya’s worst outings in the Series so far. Shujaa got only one point in the ninth leg in Paris, before bagging five points in last weekend’s London Sevens.

It is a season that saw the former Singapore champions, who returned home on Monday, finished 12th in the overall standings with 63 points (35 points shy of last year’s haul).

Worse still, they were relegated to the Challenge Trophy a record eight times.

Most of the time, they blew hot and cold throughout the season, but Simiyu believes they have learnt their lessons from the competition in his first year in charge.

They had set a minimum of 10 points in each leg, but failed in their attempts. Simiyu blamed their poor show on lack of enough resources and support.

“We had set out a target of 10 points per leg, we collected 63 in total, which averages six points per leg,” Simiyu said.

“That isn’t bad, especially if you look at it in terms of the resources and the support we received this season. We are happy with what the players put in.

“This has been a challenging season, but exciting too. There have been a lot of lessons to learn. We now need to start planning for next season.”

But with a busy 2017/2018 season coming up, the former Shujaa and Kenya 15s captain has already laid out plans for the campaign, which include 2018 Commonwealth Games and World Cup Sevens.

“We set out this year to lay a foundation and structures to enable us have a platform ahead of the new season. In our tray we have Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.” said Simiyu.

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