Kenya Sevens team hoping for improved show in Los Angeles

Kenya rugby sevens Edmond Anya in action during a training session on July 26, 2022 at the Broadstreet Rugby Football Club pitcch in Coventry, United Kingdom ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games between Thursday, 28 Jul 2022 – Mon, 8 Aug 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

Kenya Sevens will be seeking to improve on their performance at the World Rugby Sevens Series when the 2021-2022 season come to an end with the Los Angeles Sevens set to be played in the United States next weekend.

Shujaa are currently ranked 13th in the global rankings with 38 points ahead of the final leg of the series.

Since the beginning of the year, Kenya has not gone past the quarter-final stage after poor results in Malaga, Seville, Singapore, Vancouver, Toulouse and London.
Shujaa has been reduced to whipping boys who are always bullied and thrashed by teams Kenya predominantly used to dominate.

Kenya has collected only one point in their last three consecutive legs in Vancouver, Toulouse and London and head coach Damian McGrath will be hoping for a better show in America.

After an improved performance during the Commonwealth Games played last month in the United Kingdom where Kenya reached the quarter-finals stage, McGrath has made two changes hoping to improve the team.

Jeff Oluoch and Samuel Oliech return to Shujaa squad, replacing Levi Amunga and Herman Humwa who were part of the squad’s last outing – the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens competition in Birmingham three weeks ago.

“The side for LA was selected mainly on the contracted players, I’ve made two changes from the Commonwealth Games team simply to have a look at other players, so Sammy Oliech and Jeff Oluoch will come in.

“It’s not a reflection on the guys who have been left out…it’s just a chance for me to look at them because we are looking to change the senior squad group to bring in some younger players from the National Sevens Circuit,” said McGrath.

Shujaa are in Group D alongside England, Samoa and Scotland.
They will begin their campaign in North America against Samoa on August 27 at 8:26pm East African Time.

This will be followed by a fixture against England at 11:10pm the same day before rounding off the pool games against Scotland at 2:21am the next day.

“We are in a fairly tough pool in LA, Samoa are the leading team in our group.
“They’ve been playing very well this year and have been based in Dubai since Christmas training, playing and preparing as a team, so they’ll offer a tough assignment for the first game.

“We then play England and Scotland who despite having a young team always have a wide pool of players to choose from, so they’ll offer a different challenge.

“Scotland beat us narrowly in the Commonwealth Games and whist we are not going there expecting to turn everybody over, we are very confident that we can put in some good performances,” McGrath said.

Nelson Oyoo will captain the team that includes Kevin Wekesa, Johnstone Olindi, William Ambaka, Alvin Otieno, Billy Odhiambo, Bush Mwale, Daniel Taabu, Vincent Onyala, Anthony Omondi and Edmund Anya.

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