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Kenya’s sevens team targets semi final berth in Las Vegas

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A buoyant Kenya sevens rugby team is aiming to storm into the semi-finals of the Las Vegas Sevens boosted by the return of their record try scorer, Collins Injera.

The eighth-place team in the 2017/18 HSBC World Series is confident they can build on their main cup quarters successes at the Australian and New Zealand legs of the competition. They take on Fiji, Russia and France in Pool A of the US leg of the series.

Injera, 31, who is number two on the all-time World Series try scoring list, returned to the team for the first time since the opening leg in Dubai last December where he was forced to return home due to a hamstring injury.

He acknowledges his reduced role in the team as head coach Innocent Simiyu attempts to create a team that is not reliant on the star winger who has been the fulcrum of the side for a decade.

“I’m among the most experienced members of the team. My time is almost up. It will be sad if I don’t leave a legacy,” said Injera.

“As a mentor, I have reached a stage in my life where I have to guide other players to success and my starting point will be in the fifth and sixth legs in the USA and Canada,” the former vice-captain said on Thursday ahead of their departure to Las Vegas.

The scoring burden has been transferred to Samuel Oliech who has scored 72 points thus far this season and 281 in his 93 games for his team.

Oliech called on his teammates to be more clinical in Las Vegas to fulfill their wish of making the last four in the main cup competition for the first time this season.

“We could have easily shattered this barrier in the last two legs in Sydney and Hamilton but fatigue got the better of us. We could hardly move. If we want to make it past our recent achievements in Australia and New Zealand, then we should strive to be consistent,” said Oliech who took over from Injera as the vice-captain.

Oliech hopes to take his points tally into triple figures. “I know with Injera and Andrew Amonde [captain] on board, my dream to hit the target is valid. I will rely on their experience to execute the runs,” Oliech added.

Kenya is on 35 points heading to Las Vegas, 22 behind series leaders and defending champions South Africa.



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