NAIROBI, Kenya, March 26 – The national rugby sevens team resume their International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series campaign at the Hong Kong Sevens that kicks off on Friday.
After an epic Rugby World Cup Sevens outing in Dubai earlier this month, the eyes of the rugby world will be on Benjamin Ayimba’s side to see if they can replicate their form on the most exciting stage of the series.
Apart from the inclusion of Joshua Gathumbi in place of Biko Adema, Ayimba can count on a settled squad that has the capability of reaching the main cup final of sevens premier event.
Many of the top sides have been wary of Kenya for a while but their performance in Dubai has made them genuine contenders for the title.
Kenya will be playing in her 51st IRB Sevens World Series tournament after being part of the inaugural Series in 1999 in Dubai.
Despite their unforgettable form in Dubai, the team’s brain trust had indicated that they would like to see an improvement in defence especially in one on one situations.
Kenya primed themselves for the tournament with three warm up games against Sevens world champions Wales, France and Fiji.
“We have had a good build up and the immediate task is to win against West Indies. Our aim is to top the pool and avoid the complicated arithmetic of qualifying for the quarter finals as one of the best two teams,” said coach Benjamin Ayimba.
The Safari Sevens champions lock horns with the West Indies in the first match of the tournament at 11.30 a.m. Kenyan time.
Both sides have only met once back in 2006 in the shield semi final at Los Angeles which Kenya won 38-5.
On day two, Scotland could be on the receiving end of a backlash from Humphrey Kayange and company who lost 19-14 to the Scots in Wellington back in February.
It will be the fourth time this season Kenya will meet the men from the land of ‘Braveheart’ who failed to impress at the world cup.
Both sides have met twice before in Hong Kong with each team sharing the spoils having won one each.
The match against the United States promises to be full of high drama with Kenya out to avenge their 14-7 loss to the Americans in San Diego last month.
It will be the first time both countries will meet in Hong Kong and their eleventh meeting overall.