NAIROBI, Kenya, December 9- After last weekend’s debacle in the sands of Dubai, Kenya Sevens fans will be forgiven for fearing the worst by the looks of what their team is up against in George.
Humphrey Kayange and company who are in Pool C come lock horns with Dubai champions England and New Zealand on Friday with Russia providing formidable opposition as well.
Benjamin Ayimba admitted that his charges could have done much better at The Sevens stadium where they failed to qualify for the main cup quarter finals and succumbed to one of their heaviest defeats in the IRB Series to Argentina in the bowl quarters.
The team looked out of its depth both in attack and defence as new players like Patrice Agunda and David Ambunya struggled to fit in while the returning Edwin Shimenga was a pale shadow of the force he once was.
It all came together in the shield victory against France where Kenya played not only their best rugby of the tournament but the whole year.
The Safaricom Sevens champions kept hold of the ball for long periods, recycled the ball quickly and were patient enough to allow gaps in the French defence to open up leading to the 26-0 victory.
Ball retention will be key against the English and the Kiwi. Last week’s statistics showed that Kenya made more passes than both their Pool rivals and also took more contact.
Innocent Simiyu’s return in place of Peter Ocholla will be under scrutiny after having missed the Commonwealth Games.
Kenya’s primary mission in George will be more of damage control than saving face with Simiyu providing a solid base.
Kenya open their account against the Kiwis at 2.05pm followed and then England at 4.33pm and then wrap up their Pool assignments against Russia at 7.33pm.