NAIROBI, February 2 – The national sevens rugby team have arrived in New Zealand ahead of the Wellington leg of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series that starts on Friday.
Team manager Oscar Osir confirmed the team’s arrival in the Kiwi capital after a marathon flight.
“Everything went like clockwork. We met Peter Ocholla and Geoffrey Kimani (sprint coach) at the airport looking less jet-lagged after flying through a shorter route,” said Osir.
Kenya flew through London, Los Angeles and Auckland before connecting a local flight to Wellington.
The players rested for two hours before being taken through a pool session to shake off the effects of the long flight before their first training session on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Kenya plans to play two build-up matches against France, who beat them in the bowl semi finals in George and Niue or Cook Islands.
Kenya who are currently eighth on the IRB Sevens standings with six points are in Pool A alongside top seeds and series leaders South Africa, Scotland and Tonga.
The captain’s run will take place on Thursday before the city parade where all the participating teams will be introduced to the Wellington public.
“We are ready to show off the rich Kenya culture at the city parade. The team will be dressed in Maasai shukas,” added Osir.
Coach Benjamin Ayimba was anxious to ensure that the team settles in well. He said there could be rain on the opening day on Friday.
“The players are ready and know the goals which we have set. Definitely, the long journey here has affected the players,” acknowledged Ayimba.
For Sidney Ashioya, the pressure is to perform after missing out nearly two seasons of top-flight rugby due to a knee injury.
“I am confident of doing well,” said Ashioya on Monday.
Captain Humphrey Kayange can’t wait for the tournament to kick off.
“We have already done the tough work at home and there is no more easy landing especially now that Kenya is a core team,” said Kayange.
Lavin Asego is one of the 2008/2009 top points scorers after the opening two legs in Dubai and South Africa.
He has 55 points while Collins Injera has 45 after scoring nine tries and is placed fourth behind Robert Ebersohn (South Africa), David Mateus (Portugal) and Luke Morahan (Australia) who have scored 10 tries each.
Humphrey Kayange (Captain), Victor Oduor, Collins Injera, Horace Otieno, Lavin Asego, Peter Ocholla, Brian Nyikuli, Nato Simiyu, Gibson Weru, Cyprian Shimenga, Allan Onyango, Sidney Ashioya, Benedict Nyambu, Biko Adema, Joshua Gathumbi.