Last updated 9 months ago | By Clement Wekulo
The Kenya Rugby Sevens team will be eyeing a place in the Main Cup quarter-finals of the ongoing Dubai Sevens when they conclude their preliminaries against England and Spain today.
Shujaa, who had a disappointing outing in Dubai last season with a 16th-place finish, face England at 12:26 pm before winding up their pool D fixtures with a meeting against the Spaniards at 6:32 pm.
Wins in the two matches will guarantee the Kenyans a place in the Main Cup quarter-finals of the Dubai tournament, the opening round of the 10-legged 2019-20 World Sevens Series which ends in France next year.
Kenya, who are coached by New Zealander Paul Feeney, face an English team they have struggled against in recent matches having lost to them 20 times in their last 25 meetings in the World Sevens Series since December 2011. During that period, Shujaa have managed only one win, a 12-0 triumph at the 2017-18 Vancouver Sevens while four matches ended in draws.
England, who have the all-time leading try-scorer in the Series Dan Norton within their ranks, beat Kenya 36-7 the last time the sides faced off at last season’s Singapore Sevens.
Shujaa , who have been boosted by the return of their key players who missed last season, boast of an impressive record against Spain as they have won 12 of the last 14 matches between the teams.
Meanwhile, Shujaa’s female counterparts, the Lionesses, inched closer to the quarter-finals in the Dubai women’s invitational event after winning their two fixtures yesterday.
The Lionesses, who are coached by Nakuru RFC trainer Felix Oloo, launched their campaign with a 33-7 thrashing of Japanese side Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix in a match which Kenya scored five tries, four being converted.
They would then follow it up with a 14-7 victory against France Sevens Development, a result that placed them in pole position to qualify for the last eight ahead of today’s pool C matches against Belgian outfit Belsevens and Arukas Queen Kumagaya of Japan.
Oloo’s team, which is a non-core side, is using the three-day showpiece to prepare for next year’s Hong Kong Sevens that will double up as a qualifier for the World Women’s Sevens Series.