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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya team faces acid test in Wellington Sevens rugby

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- There will be room for Kenya to rest on its laurels as it prepares for a battle against top teams at the Wellington Sevens, the third round of the Sevens World Series set for Jan 28-29 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Head coach Innocent Simiyu is a man under the spotlight after average performance in the first two legs in Cape Town (South Africa) and Dubai last year. His team is already in camp training for what will be their first major task in 2017.

In Wellington, Kenya will face a hard task as it has been drawn in Pool A alongside Cape Town Sevens winner England, Argentina and Papua New Guinea.

Shujaa will start their campaign with a clash against Argentina before taking Papua New Guinea and wind up their preliminary round matches against England.

On Paper, Papua New Guinea is the only average side and Simiyu must seek the chink in England and Argentina defense to exploit.

“At this stage of competition, there are no easy teams. We cannot decide which teams to play and what we have to do is prepare well and see how far it will take us,” said the coach.

Kenya team currently sits 10th overall with 17 points after the opening two rounds in Dubai and Cape Town.

In Cape Town, Kenya finished sixth collecting 12 points after it lost to Olympic champion Fiji 33-21 in the fifth place play-off.

Kenya Sevens scaled one place to 10th with a total of 17 points in the World Sevens Series standings. Kenya had reached the Challenge Trophy semi-finals in the opening leg of the Series in Dubai where it picked five points.

Simiyu has done a lot of work especially at the breakdowns, defense and kick-offs in his team formation since he was named coach in October.

But a conflict of interest by some elite players and management has seen some potential talents dropped from the team. Prior to their departure to Dubai, Kenya team players went on strike over unpaid allowances. 

             

 

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