No reprieve for Kenya's struggling rugby sevens team

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-03 17:18:22|Editor: Li Xia
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NAIROBI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's national rugby sevens head coach Paul Murunga will be forced to recall his experienced players after his side's poor performance in the Dubai leg of the World Sevens Series.

Team captain Eden Agero said the Kenya Sevens rugby team has just five days to beef up and seal the porous defense ahead of the Cape Town Sevens tournament in South Africa on Dec. 8-9. Agero said Kenya will rise from the disappointing performance and put their rivals to the sword in Cape Town.

"That performance was disappointing. We have five days to improve our defense and ensure we work hard to avoid another embarrassment," Agero said on Monday.

The captain said the youth players did their best and the result is not a true reflection of the effort displayed in the six matches. "What a tough introduction. The boys battled hard and they have learned some lessons from the opener," added Agero.

Kenya lost all its matches and ended the tournament with only one point, their worst showing since 2012 in what was a true baptism by fire for the new coach, who opted to go with a young and untested team.

Top players who guided the team last season including top try scorer Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, William Ambaka, Nelson Oyoo and Samuel Oliech were away with the Kenya 15s side in a botched World Cup qualification campaign in France.

The five have since returned and may be available if needed ahead of Kenya's next assignment this weekend in Cape Town, South Africa. Other players that missed the action include Oscar Ayodi, Oscar Ouma, Augustine Lugonzo and Tony Owuor.

"The experienced players were away in France, where they were part of the Kenya 15s team for the World Cup repechage qualifier. They were not ready for the Sevens tournament in Dubai. We may consider them for Cape Town or other competitions," said Murunga.

There will be no reprieve for Kenya as they return to a tougher group for the assignment in Cape Town. The teams head down for the second leg of the World Sevens Series with Kenya in Pool C alongside giants England, Olympic champions Fiji and France.

In Dubai, Kenya lost to France 21-14 and Fiji 43-12. Scotland, Spain and Japan also claimed Kenya's scalp, leaving coach Murunga with more miseries.

Last season, Kenya collected 10 points from Dubai. But with only one picked up from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital, coach Murunga is already off the pace to beat the 104 points that his predecessor Innocent Simiyu attained.