Kenya sees room for improvement after dismal display at Sydney Sevens

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-05 21:17:03|Editor: Yamei
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NAIROBI, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's rugby head coach Paul Murunga is adamant there is room for improvement after returning from Sydney Sevens with only one point.

With no solution to the senior player boycott in the horizon, Kenya will still depend on young, untested players ahead of the fifth leg to be played in Las Vegas in March.

Losses of sponsorship and poor pay have forced many senior players away from the campaign, and Murunga has had to endure physical encounters with a team of novices.

Kenya failed to win a match in Sydney, losing 24-14 to Canada, 41-0 to the USA, 40-17 to France, 19-14 to Wales and 20-17 to non-core side Tonga.

But that has not stopped Murunga from dreaming of finishing in the top positions at the end of the ten-round series.

"Sydney was a tough tournament performance-wise. The boys gave it their all but the results were not good enough," said Murunga on Tuesday.

"But we must not lose hope. They are going through development and soon we will have our groove back."

Kenya team captain Jacob Ojee, the only senior player in Sydney, believes the team can improve and be strong.

Ojee picked out ball retention, conditioning and efficiency in attack as areas in which the team failed to coordinate well in Sydney, leaving them exposed and vulnerable to their opponents.

"We have limited time but when we return to the training camp, I will try to work things out because I believe there are certain things we can do better," said Ojee.

The team will have ten days to recover and rest their tired muscles after two tournaments - in Hamilton (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia) - before resuming training ahead of the fifth leg.

Kenya is in Pool B along with the USA, France and Argentina. It will be the fourth time in five tournaments that Kenya is paired alongside France.

The Europeans currently have a 2-1 win record and Murunga hopes to level matters in Las Vegas.

"It is still a tough group, but with better rest and preparation, the team can stage a surprise and storm the Main Cup semis for the first time in this season's campaign," added the coach.

Pool A features Olympic champions New Zealand, Spain, Canada and Samoa. Pool C has England, South Africa, Japan and another guest team to be selected from the America region, while Pool D will feature Fiji, Australia, Wales and Scotland.

Kenya is in 13th place on the World Series leaderboard with 12 points, with New Zealand, the USA and Fiji at the top.

The team will start training on February 12. The Las Vegas Sevens tournament will take place from March 1 to 3.