NAIROBI, Kenya, March 13 – National 7s head coach Paul Treu, is banking experience gained from previous five legs to excel in the sixth and seventh rounds of HSBC Sevens World Series in Japan and Hong Kong.
The South African has made only one change to his travelling party of 12, giving Lunch Bar Quins sweeper Maxwell Theuri, his first cap because veteran Humphrey Kayange, will not be available due to school commitments.
The team was also boosted by the return of captain Andrew Amonde, who missed USA and New Zealand rounds due to a shoulder injury picked while the team was in George, South Africa, for a 10-day camp training.
“We are trying to build on consistency in terms of giving new players opportunity and exposure to international level.
“We are progressing well since from the first tour in Dubai up to Wellington we made eight changes and now we have only made one, I’m happy our skipper Amonde is back in the mix so hopefully the continuity will translate to our results as well.
“The team can be better if the individual is better and this is something that we will work on as we are going forward each player must become better and take ownership of this team.
“We need to become player driven environment where they are taking charge and setting the standards,” the former Blitzbokke tactician who is yet to lead his charged to the Main Cup semis this season stated on Thursday while unveiling the squad.
He urged his boys to be prepared for a tough outing since they will meet experienced sides in their Group where Kenya is in Pool B alongside his former employer South Africa who they have failed to beat in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas, Argentina and host Japan.
“We have set our bar high since we will be accountable on our performance and we are looking forward to the next two tournaments and we will like to see progression its not going to be easy since even when we qualify to the quarters we will meet top teams but we are but for the challenge.
“Our defence has grown since we have improved on our tackles and we were ranked the second best in Wellington since we scored the most tries so we must keep on building in the platform and hopefully the wins will come.
“If one compares this team to last season then you are wrong since we have been meeting big teams early in the quarters it’s going to be very tough, last year Kenya played top fives teams 26 percent but we have already played them 42 percent in the last five tournaments,” he claim.
Kenya Commercial utility player Amonde said many teams have stepped up their game and there is no team to underrate.
“The team played well its unfortunate they did have their best but we can’t crucify them and we are prepared well for the sixth and seventh rounds we hope for the best.
“It’s a challenging group since playing South Africa after playing them twice, Argentina are ranked above us on the standings and Japan will be having the home support but we are going to put our heads high and we expect the best,” the skipper said.
The new kid on the bock, Theuri, said he intends to use the opportunity to fight for his position and be a regular in the national team.
“I feel like my effort has been recognized though it has not been easy to all the way to the top. I have to embrace this opportunity and become professional since the big boys are giving me support.
“I started from scratch with Quins since rugby was not my sport I had to learnt it and I’m so humbled to make it to the national team, the only challenge is to maintain to the team,” the back who used to play soccer expressed.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Mwangi Muthee, challenged the boys to step up their game and go back to the winning ways since it’s long overdue.
“We still have to develop our high performance structures and it will not come overnight since its needs investment and we urge the Government to help us achieve this.
“That’s why most of the time we are heading to South Africa to get that experience. I was honoured to have a chat with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is our patron and said rugby fans are getting anxious that we are not winning and he send me to tell you Kenyans want a trophy.
“Its high time coaches and players take responsibility and make a kill since time has come,” the KRU chief declared.
Kenya Air Ways CEO Titus Naikuni said, “I will like to ensure everybody that we are fully behind and satisfied with the management of KRU. The players should not close themselves on playing in our local circuit; you should go out there and play against established teams to get the exposure
“We as Kenya Airways we will be watching on you so don’t individualize your mistakes just give your best and make us proud.”