Rugby Rugby

Kenya in N Zealand test for Gold Coast 7s


AMBAKA-FRANCENAIROBI, Kenya, September 11- Kenya has been pooled in Group A alongside defending champions New Zealand, regional qualifiers Tonga and USA in the opening 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series showdown, Gold Coast 7s in Australia.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) and the Australian Rugby Union tournament organisers announced the draw on Wednesday for the event that will run on the weekend of October 10 to 12.

Last season’s runners-up South Africa headline Group B and will face against England, France and Spain while defending Gold Coast champions Fiji are in Pool C together with Wales, Canada and Portugal.

As the fourth-ranked team in 2012/13, the Samoans are the top seed in Pool D and face hosts Australia, Argentina and Scotland.

Kenya finished fifth overall in the World Series last season with 99 points and this year they will be looking for greater heights even as they wait for the appointment of the new head coach after Mike Friday resigned in July this year.

The Kenyan boys will use the forth coming Safaricom Safari Sevens slated for September 20 to 22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani as a preparation towards their first series.

Friday’s successor, largely said to be former South Africa tactician, Paul Treu, will be unveiled in the week after the Safari Sevens with assistant coach, Felix Ochieng in charge of the team for the tournament.

The IRB’s new General Manager for Sevens, Avan Lee, was present at the draw in London with HSBC’s head of Rugby sponsorship Andrea de Vincentiis and IRB’s Head of Commercial, Broadcast and Marketing Murray Barnett, and believes that the Gold Coast event marks the start of the three most important seasons for the sport.

“This is a pivotal time for Rugby Sevens with three years until our debut at the Olympic Games and the Gold Coast is an exciting and eye-catching place for the HSBC Sevens World Series to kick off,” said Lee.

“The Series is growing as a sporting brand all the time, attracting hundreds of thousands through the turnstiles around the world and millions more on TV. Working with the Australian Rugby Union and the eight other hosts I’m sure we’re in for another superb season.”

– By Alex Isaboke

Last season’s HSBC World Series standings

1. New Zealand

2. South Africa

3. Fiji

4. Samoa

5. Kenya

6. England

7. Wales

8. Australia

9. France

10. Argentina

11. USA

12. Canada

13. Scotland

14. Portugal

15. Spain