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Tough outing for Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- Kenya sevens rugby team will have to overcome a tricky pool B if its to maintain its stellar run in the 2009-10 International Rugby Board sevens circuit at Twickenham.The East Africans were drawn against New Zealand, World champions Wales and Portugal in the seventh leg which starts on Saturday with Kenya facing Portugal in the opening match at 2:20pm Kenyan time.

It will be followed by a clash against Wales from 5:26pm before wrapping things up against the All Blacks from 9.06pm.

Kenya will be wary of a Portuguese side that has beaten them six times in the last ten meetings and which beat them 14-12 the last time they met in 2008.

Incredibly, Kenya has a superior record against Wales having beaten the world champions seven times in 11 meetings and will hope to continue this rich vein of form before meeting New Zealand, against whom they have won just twice.

Benjamin Ayimba’s boys are currently seventh on the standings with 52 points-their highest ever total in a season that has seen them reached main cup quarterfinals of all but one of the previous six tournaments.

But they will have to produce A list performances if they are to keep the amazing run going.
 
“New Zealand are hoping to finish the season on a high and will come at us hard. Portugal have always been a problematic side for us so we have to be on our guard when we play them, and Wales of course they are world champions so we know what to expect,” said Ayimba.

The coach has made several changes with the return of Leon Adongo key to his target, “Leon has been in great form throughout the Super series. We would have liked to carry Wilson K’Opondo as well but he has exams.”

The team will however be missing the services of speedy Sidney Ashioya, Allan Onyango and Ben Nyambu who have been left behind due to work commitments.

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But despite the absence of the three players, skipper Humphrey Kayange remains confident that they can go all the way at Twickenham.

“We have to be very incisive and very tight in defence. When we get the opportunity to score we have to take them and keep pumping the pressure so that we can make the main cup quarters,” he added.

The boys will no doubt want to put up a great performance in memory of former player Joshua Gathumbi who passed on early this week in Nairobi at age 25.

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