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Crunch time ahead for Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – The national Sevens team will renew their acquaintance with 2008/2009 International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Series pacesetters and top seeds South Africa at the Wellington Sevens slated for February 6-7 next year.

Benjamin Ayimba’s side and the Springboks are joined in Pool A by Scotland who Kenya have met twice already in Dubai and George as well as Tonga who will be making their first appearance this season.

“It’s a very tough pool because on one hand you have Scotland who we have already beaten twice this season and that makes them even more determined to beat us,” Ayimba told Capital Sport.

“Tonga, of course, will be very physical and South Africa will be wary of us because they know that we’ll be eager to avenge our loss to them so they will definitely raise their game,” he added.

Kenya who are currently eighth on the IRB Sevens standings will be hoping to avoid another spectacular capitulation against the Boks who ran over the Safari Sevens champions 31-0 in their Dubai pool game last month.

Kenya intend to be third time lucky against the Scots who they thrashed 38-0 in Dubai with their bowl quarter final encounter in George turning out to be a narrower affair with a late Ben Nyambu try putting the seal on a 19-15 victory.

The team which is captained by Humphrey Khayange only managed to gather six points over the first two legs of the series after reaching the main cup quarters and the plate final in Dubai where they lost to defending series champions New Zealand and Samoa respectively.

Elementary mistakes was the team’s undoing in George where they suffered narrow losses to Portugal, Samoa in the pool stages and a shock loss to France in the bowl semi final.

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The team is still reeling from the loss of Dennis Mwanja who has withdrawn from the entire season to recover from a knee injury sustained at the Africa Zone Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Tunisia.

Mwanja was sorely missed over the first two legs as Kenya struggled to compete at the set pieces, an area which they flourished in last seaso  with the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) backrow at the forefront.

Wellington Draw:

Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, Scotland, Tonga
Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Niue
Pool C: England, Argentina, France, Canada
Pool D: Fiji, Samoa, USA, Cook Islands

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