NAIROBI, Kenya, October 14 – Despite racking up 12 points from their opening HSBC World Sevens Series outing in Gold Coast, Australia over the weekend to rank sixth in the standings, a lot is still expected from the national team that arrives back home on Tuesday morning.
Their 36-0 loss to Fiji in the Plate final told of a side that fell well short of the fitness levels needed to challenge for a first ever Main Cup after the team stepped up last season under Englishman Mike Friday.
On any other day, a return of 12 series points would have been cause for celebration but the deflating manner of the defeat to Fiji, who are accustomed to contesting for the Main Cup came against the backdrop of an exhausted team that had no energy left.
Kenya needs to strategise on how to better their results as the team awaits the new professional coach promised by Kenya Rugby Union chairman Mwangi Muthee.
“Kenya still needs a professional coach, we are almost zeroing in on the next man after short listing the applicants down to two, who are based in South Africa and New Zealand.
“By the time we come from Gold Coast, we will have a professional head coach as we look to dominate rugby in the coming days.
“I have no doubt that with time Kenya will be the best rugby playing nation worldwide,” Muthee declared before the national team depart for Gold Coast7s.
Managing the team on interim basis, Felix Ochieng’ saw his charges bow out of the Main Cup at the quarter finals following a 12-24 loss to hosts Australia.
This is despite the team camping in Australia for two weeks allegedly to give the side enough time to acclimatise to the conditions.
The wisdom of sending out the team that early will also be called into question, particularly following the poor ball handling that cost Kenya against New Zealand and Fiji with possession surrendered cheaply.
Players such as captain, Andrew Amonde, Biko Adema and Patrice Agunda did not cover themselves in glory and looked jaded.
The next assignment for the boys will be the Dubai 7s, slotted for the weekend of November 29 and 30 where Kenya is pooled in Group A alongside New Zealand, Portugal and France.
Defending champions New Zealand won the Main Cup while Fiji claimed the Plate as France were crowned the Bowl champions. United States of America settled for the Shield.
Top Ten Standings after Round 1
1. New Zealand 22
2. Australia 19
3. England 17
4. South Africa 15
5. Fiji 13
6. Kenya 12
7. Samoa 10
8. Wales 10
9. France 8
10. Canada 7