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Kenya Rugby Sevens targets gold as focus turns to Gold Coast

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World Series top scorer Collins Injera believes a shift in rugby sevens dominance is good for the sport as Kenya carries its best form into the Commonwealth Games.

Injera, who will be making his third showing at the Games,  says unity and hard work have helped the team put together a string of good results and believes it will continue at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this weekend and the Singapore Sevens a week after.

“It will be my third Commonwealth Games appearance in a row. All I can say is thank you God and my supporters,” Injera said.

The Kenyan team has no room for complacency in their quest to advance past the group stage at the Games.

There are four groups and the top ranked teams in each of the pools will qualify for the semifinal, staying in contention for the medals on offer. This is different from the last two Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and New Delhi where the top two teams from each pool sailed through to the quarters. But it is a challenge that Injera believes his team will be able to take in its stride.

Kenya is pooled in group C together with New Zealand, Canada and Africa Cup bronze medalists Zambia.

“We take the lessons and move forward. Canada and Hong Kong was good to us. Next up is the Commonwealth Games. We win and lose together and live to fight another day,” he added.

Kenya turned around their season in the World Series, finishing second in the last two stops in Vancouver, Canada and Hong Kong.

Kenya’s contingent of 18 members, led by head coach Innocent Simiyu, arrived at the Gold Coast ahead of the weekend’s action.



Kenya dreams of rugby medal at Commonwealth
Games after Hong Kong disappointment

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Rugby Sevens team turns their focus to the Commonwealth Games, after failing to beat Fiji in the finals of the Hong Kong Sevens.

Two yellow cards in the first half for Kenya’s Collins Injera and Willy Ambaka dealt a major blow to Shujaa’s title hopes as Fiji went into the break with a 17-point lead.

A late resurgence was not enough to turn the tables as Kenya went down 24-12 to Fiji in a pulsating Hong Kong Sevens cup final. This was a repeat of the final of the Vancouver Sevens where Fiji beat Kenya.

Head coach Innocent Simiyu urged his players to put their loss behind them and focus on the bigger picture as he takes his team to the Gold Coast in Australia for the Commonwealth Games.

Kenya’s rugby has developed tremendously since the introduction of men’s rugby sevens at the 1998 games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  “They are professionals and will pick it up from where they left off in Hong Kong,” Simiyu said on Monday.

Kenya will start their Pool C campaign at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday with a match against Canada before taking on New Zealand. They will wrap up their pool play assignment with a match against fellow African side Zambia on the same day.

The top ranked teams in each of the four pools will qualify for the semi-final, staying in contention for the medals on offer. In the World Series, Kenya have moved up one place on the log to seventh with 83 points as they head into the final three rounds.

South Africa (123 points) hold a slender three-point lead over Fiji (123 points) with New Zealand (107 points), Argentina (90 points) and Australia (89 points) rounding off the top five. 



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