NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – National rugby sevens coach Benjamin Ayimba has set his sights on reaching one of the main cup finals in the final two legs of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series.Kenya will be hoping to build on their stellar performance in Adelaide when they lock horns with Fiji, Scotland and the United States on Saturday at Twickenham.
“We are targeting 20 points in the last two events which means we must get to at least one final. We want to finish on a high. It’s been a great season and we want to end it that way,” said Ayimba.
“We must finish big and if we do then we have good seeding next season and that could mean winning a couple tournaments next season,” he added.
Ayimba’s side are currently sixth on the IRB sevens standings with 58 points, six behind New Zealand who they have already beaten twice this season.
With memorable victories over former world champions Fiji and current series leaders South Africa, Ayimba believes that the team is getting closer to winning one of the legs.
”We are getting close. The difference is just switching on for 20 minutes as opposed to 14. If that game against South Africa had been 14 minutes, we would have won it but South Africa has played in a lot of finals and knows how to approach it,” said the former national captain.
“We can do better and I know we can. The thing we needed was to get into the final and get that exposure and experience,” he added.
Ayimba has largely kept faith with the team that stunned the world in Adelaide, making only three changes. Wilson K’opondo, Innocent Simiyu and Joshua Gathumbi are out with Victor Sudi Simiyu, Brian Nyikuli and Biko Adema taking their places.
“We will definitely miss Simiyu because he was key for us in Adelaide but in Sudi and Nyikuli we have adequate replacements. They bring on that vital bit of experience which we will need for this tour,” he observed.
Kenya will be playing the home sides in the pool stages of both legs which prompted the technical bench to raise the intensity in their training sessions.
“We have been training in the rain because of the conditions we expect in these two rounds. Scotland will be playing at home and so will be England so you do not expect easy matches,” said Ayimba.
Collins Injera, who currently leads the try scorers’ list with 30 touchdowns will be hoping to continue with his streak while Lavin Asego will also hope to move up the points list.
Asego hopes to equal Dennis Mwanja’s record of 31 tournament appearances in the series.
The Mwamba flyhalf who so far logged 29 tournament outings is currently fifth in this season’s points scorers table with 135 points to his credit.