Kenya seek redemption in Singapore Sevens

By Clement Wekulo: Friday, April 12th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby
Kenya's Willy Ambaka (R) runs with the ball to score a try during the HSBC Canada Men's Sevens in BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C.Canada, March 11, 2018. [AFP]

Struggling Kenya Sevens will be seeking to redeem themselves when the eighth round of the World Sevens Series starts in Singapore tomorrow.

Shujaa are currently 13th on the standings and their position as a core side is under serious threat with 15th-placed Wales hot on their heels.

Having been bundled out at the Challenge Trophy semi-finals in Hong Kong last weekend, Paul Murunga’s charges picked five points, bringing their season tally to 23, three more than the Welshmen who occupy the relegation spot.

The Kenyans major undoing this term has been their failure to go past the pool stage and captain Jeffrey Oluoch is optimistic they will change the script in Singapore, a country where they enjoyed cup success in 2016.

“I am looking forward to this weekend’s competition and hope it is going to be a great one for us. We are currently 13th in the table and close to the other teams so we need to bag maximum points as much as we can this weekend,” Oluoch told World Rugby, adding that they are keen on booking a last eight berth which has proven elusive in the past seven legs.

At the Singapore Sevens, Shujaa has been drawn in pool C alongside Hong Kong Sevens Bronze medalists USA, England and fellow relegation candidates Wales. They get their campaign underway against England before clashes with USA and Wales follow.

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“There is a lot of excitement in the camp, training has been good, the boys are psyched up and have high hopes for this weekend,” added Oluoch.

Kenya has failed to beat England in their past four meetings with Shujaa’s last win over the Tom Mitchell-captained side having come at last year’s Vancouver Sevens.

Similarly, Murunga’s men have struggled against the USA in recent meetings having gone down 26-10 in Las Vegas before a 41-0 thumping followed in Sydney.

Meanwhile, the race to secure qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics through the World Sevens Series has gathered momentum with series leaders USA(130), Fiji(123), New Zealand(118) and South Africa(99) in pole position to earn the four tickets to Japan.

Teams that finish outside the top four will be subjected to regional qualifiers with a Repechage tournament also in the picture.

Shujaa fixtures in Singapore
Versus England 5:44 am
Versus USA 9:34 am
Versus  Wales 12:38 pm

Singapore Sevens pools 
Pool A: Fiji, South Africa, Scotland, Canada
Pool B: France, Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong
Pool C: USA, England, Kenya, Wales
Pool D: Samoa, New Zealand, Japan, Spain

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