NAIROBI, Kenya, February 19 – National sevens rugby coach Benjamin Ayimba has defended his side’s inconsistent performance at the Wellington and San Diego legs of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Series.Ayimba who masterminded Kenya’s first win over South Africa and defending series champions New Zealand last weekend said on Wednesday night said he had to try out new combinations before next month’s Rugby World Cup Sevens as well as utilizing all the players he took on tour.
“We cannot carry 12 players and play only seven. Of course we have our best seven but we need the other five to anchor them and that’s why players have to be swapped around,” said Ayimba shortly after the team arrived back from the two week tour.
“That results in the rhythm being lost and the consequences end up being that we lose games that are perceived to be simpler,” he added.
Kenya beat the Springboks 22-17 in Wellington after coming back from 12-5 down at half time and followed it up by thrashing New Zealand 22-7 in America a week later.
Kenya captain Humphrey Kayange believes that basic errors let them down on tour particularly in their losses against Scotland, Uruguay and the United States.
“In sevens, if you make a mistake the opponent goes ahead and punishes you for it and makes it hard to catch up,” said Kayange.
“In our losses against Scotland and Uruguay, they went ahead and slowed our game down completely so it’s just a matter of us concentrating from the start,” he added.
Kayange picked out kickoffs and set pieces as the areas they have to work on before they depart for Dubai.
“I think if we iron out those issues, I think we will head in to the World Cup with more confidence,” said Kayange.
The team will have a three day break before they resume training for sevens showpiece event.
The team which arrived on Wednesday was received by Sports Minister Helen Sambili, Sports Secretary Wilson Langat, Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch and the top brass of the Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU).
“You have done your country proud and I promise you that you will also benefit from the cash bonus scheme if you perform well at the Olympics,” said Sambili.
Kenya will take on inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens champions England, Hong Kong and Tunisia in Pool E of the tournament which will run from March 5-7.
Collins Injera has scored 20 tries so far this season and shares top spot with Australian Luke Morahan.