NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – Menengai Oilers head coach Gibson Weru has warned the young side will be a dominant force in Kenyan rugby over the next four years after dazzling in the opening two legs of the National Sevens Circuit.
Oilers moved top of the circuit standings with 36 points after reaching the final of the Kabeberi Sevens on Sunday, just a week after finishing third in the season opening Driftwood Sevens in Mombasa.
“We are working on a four-year plan whereby we want to be most dominant team by 2020. This team is a work in progress and for now, we can’t put pressure that we have to win a main cup. The most important thing is that I want them to play consistently,” Weru, a former Kenya Sevens assistant captain told Capital Sports.
He adds; “If they go out and win then it’s a plus but I am not keen on winning. I am more concerned with them developing and playing consistently.”
Oilers lost out 22-5 to Impala in the Kabeberi final and Weru admitted that it was down to experience, which he says his boys will acquire as they grow into playing their second ever circuit.
“I wouldn’t have asked for more from the boys. They have been amazing throughout the tournament. The difference when it comes to playing in a final is mental and experience which we lacked thus making high school errors. But they are young boys and we keep learning,” the tactician further said.
Courtesy of their win in Kabeberi, Impala moved from sixth to second on the log, the 22 points picked hoisting them to 34, two behind leaders Oilers.
Coach Oscar Osir said his boys have been working hard over the past week in training and the defense of their Kabeberi title shows the amount of work put in to take their season back on track.
“It has been a tough tournament and going all the way to win it is great for us. Kudos to Oilers because they gave us such a hard time. I think they are one of the best teams this season and I am personally a huge fan of them,” Osir said.
He added; “We needed to get these 22 points to get ourselves back on top there and we will keep working hard, take a game at a time and see what we can achieve. I think for now it would be premature for us to start talking about the title.”
Meanwhile, it wasn’t such a positive outing for circuit defending champions Homeboyz RFC who failed to make it past the Cup quarters, losing by a sudden death penalty to Strathmore, then going on to lose to KCB in the 5th/6th place final.
The 12 points picked at Kabeberi saw them drop to third in the standings, but head coach Paul Murunga says it is just a minor blip but they are firmly in the race to defend their title.
“I think for us it is just a wake-up call that we need to work harder. It was unfortunate not to make it off the quarters because our target has been to get to each final. But we will bounce back,” Murunga said.
KCB who won the 5th place final marked a huge improvement from their performance in Mombasa, the 13 points picked hoisting them to seventh in the standings.
“We introduced new players who were hungrier for the game and steered us to where we reached. It’s a step at a time. It is positive that we have improved from bowl to plate. Realistically we can compete for the main cup next time,” KCB head coach Dennis Mwanja said.
Meanwhile, Mwamba RFC failed to shine in their own home tournament, losing two cups on the same day. The senior team lost to Nakuru in the Challenge Trophy final while their second tier team lost to Mount Kenya’s Northern Suburbs in the Division Two final.
Head Coach Kevin Wambua is distraught with the team’s performance especially in front of the home fans, but keeps optimism that his young untested squad will gain valuable experience as the circuit progresses.
“Personally I am disappointed and I am pretty sure the boys are going through a lot let themselves. We didn’t perform well and we let the fans down on our own home tournament. Our decision making has been poor and the players are still in a shell.”
“Most of these players are young and this is their first tournament. But them being here shows they have potential and we will work on them to build their confidence to play well especially under pressure.”
The tactician has demanded a better performance from the team ahead of the next leg, the Prinsloo Sevens in Nakuru and will use the one weekend to play training matches to enhance the team’s performance and work on mistakes.