NAIROBI, Kenya, January 14 – The national sevens rugby team has been pooled with New Zealand in group B in the American leg of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series to be held on February 14-15.
Both teams clashed in Dubai last year in the main cup quarter final stage which the Kiwis won 21-17 after coming from 12-7 down at half time.
Benjamin Ayimba’s side will also have an axe to grind with France who eliminated the Safari Sevens champions from the bowl competition in George a week later.
South American outfit Uruguay complete the line up of Kenya’s opponents in the pool B line up of the competition which will be held at PETCO Park in the southern Californian city of San Diego.
Ayimba is due to name his side next week for the tour which will also include the Wellington tournament to be held on February 6-7 at Westpac Stadium.
The squad was put through their paces at their training camp in Brookhouse School last Saturday in which former Kenya captain Sidney Ashioya took part in.
Ashioya’s return to fitness is a major boost with less than two months returning to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.
Ashioya’s Kenya Harlequins team mate Allan Onyango and Nondies flyhalf Biko Adema are also poised to return to the national fold after missing out on the first two IRB legs due to personal commitments.
Kenya who are currently eighth could only manage to collect six points from the first two legs after reaching the plate final in Dubai and failing to reach the main cup quarters in South Africa.
Ayimba identified lack of concentration from his players as their main undoing in George where they suffered a shock 14-12 loss to Portugal who went on to reach the knock out stages of the main cup.
In Wellington, Kenya are in Pool A together with series leaders South Africa, Scotland and Tonga.
It will be Kenya’s second meeting with the Springboks since Paul Treu’s side overwhelmed them 31-0 in Dubai while they hope to beat the Scots for the third time this season.
Pool A: South Africa, Australia, USA, Canada
Pool B: New Zealand, Kenya, France, Uruguay
Pool C: England, Samoa, Scotland, Japan
Pool D: Fiji, Argentina, Wales, Mexico