NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The relegation bug is closing in on Kenya,
Wales and Japan as the World Series for rugby sevens enters its
penultimate stages in London and Paris.
"We definitely need
a miracle to survive and that will need everyone involved in the
game to dig deep. The players will play a major role. Unless we get
to the quarterfinals in the next two legs, we are not safe," former
Kenya Sevens team head coach Benjamin Ayimba said.
Kenya sit on 26 points, one above Wales and four ahead of Japan
"Japan is our main threat here, that’s the reality," added Ayimba.
"After the Asia tour of Hong Kong and Singapore, we have a
"We will only be safe if Japan don’t come to party in the next
two legs, which I think is not possible."
Kenya collected three points from Singapore to remain 13th in the
World Rugby Sevens Series table with two rounds remaining this
The London leg is on May 25-26, before the Paris leg on June 1-2
which wraps up the 2018-2019 season.
The Kenya team returns home on Tuesday, knowing that one of
themselves, Japan and Wales will be relegated in Paris, with Ireland
taking their position for the 2019-2020 Series.
The World Series is formed of 15 core teams, with one more team
being invited on a regional rotational basis to form the 16 teams in
Coach Innocent Simiyu, who led Kenya to its highest ever points
haul of 104 last season, blamed poor governance for the team’s woes.
With elite senior players boycotting the team over a pay dispute,
Kenya was forced to rely on inexperienced youngsters, hindering the
team’s progress and exposing it to the threat of relegation.
"The fundamental problem is not the players but the leadership at
"There is a lot of dishonesty and politics.
"If the governance structures change to allow the stakeholders of
the game to sit at board level, then we will not have a better
focused team," said Simiyu.
Kenya is also banking on continental giants South Africa to
secure automatic Olympic Games qualification by finishing in the top
four slot in the World Series.
This will allow Kenya to dominate the Africa Olympic qualifiers
The United States lead the series with 145 points, ahead of
Olympic champions Fiji on 142, with New Zealand in third with 130
points ahead of South Africa on 121, while England are fifth with
Only the top four will gain automatic entry to the 2020 Tokyo