Rugby Rugby

Treu seeks end season redemption


INJERA-IRBNAIROBI, Kenya, April 25- National rugby 7s head coach, Paul Treu, has signalled his intent to lead his side to the Main Cup semifinals for the first time in his tenure when the team wraps up the 2013/14 HSBC World Series season in Glasgow and London.

Treu who has come under intense scrutiny for the team’s limp displays since he took charge in January is under pressure to end the season on a high, making four changes to the side that will depart for Scotland on Monday as he unveiled his troops in Nairobi on Friday.

Seasoned flanker Philip Wamae, center Felix Ayange, winger Michael Wanjala and forward Tony Owuor were included in his 12-man traveling party for Scotland and England.

The four take the places of captain Andrew Amonde who is ruled out for eight weeks with arm injury, Mwamba’s Dan Sikuta who picked a knock in Hong Kong, back Oscar Ouma who is out due to family commitment and Lunch Bar Quins Maxwell Theuri who debuted in the last two legs in Japan and Hong Kong.

The team that is placed ninth on the log with 60 points for the eighth leg in Glasgow that runs on the weekend of May 3 and 4 before traveling to London a week later for the ninth and final leg of 2013/14 season.

“It is going to be a difficult challenge in the last two legs since we will be missing four of our key players. But I call upon the senior players who are experienced to steer the team and ensure we finish the season on a high.

“We are taking one game at a time and we need to get over Wales and Argentina since it will be a challenge to beat Fiji because they have beaten us in the past,” the South African declared when unveiling the squad.

“It will make no sense if we register similar results in Glasgow this time round. I don’t think we will go to this tournament for the sake of it because some of our key players are out of the squad, we want to go there and really do well since the players have a lot of urgency and hunger to perform better,” he continued.

Treu who collected three points to lift the Shield in Hong Kong courtesy of 17-10 win over Portugal is aiming to reach the last four for the first time after managing to sail through five quarter-finals in Gold Coast, Dubai, Port Elizabeth, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

“The criticism we are not performing well is justified since there is always high expectation from our supporters especially after the team finished fifth last season and comparing now where we are lying ninth, its something that we would like to improve on since we want to enter the last two legs with a lot of confidence and hope to progress to the semis or finals since we have won the Bowl and Shield.

“We have seen the impact when we lose key players on injuries and if you take a look at the top four teams like New Zealand, Fiji or South Africa, when they lose players they fail to progress to the next round and for us its even worse because loosing our captain Amonde is a big blow considering he has been inspiring the team so its difficult to replace them but we will pick ourselves up and hope for the best,” he underscored.

“Its like a see saw at the moment because we don’t know what to expect particularly when we are heading to UK tour since for England and Wales they will be at home, so it is not going to be easy but we have done our home work well and have a couple of days to polish and hopefully we will come out of day one qualifying for the Cup quarters,” Treu added.

Kenyan all time leading try scorer Collins Injera, who is currently third on the all time list with 183 will captain the team.

“It was always going to be a challenging season and from the players perspective we took it head on where sometimes it went well and sometimes it dint because of the mistakes we made on the pitch. I think it had to happen since we are on a new system,.

“Going forward we have learnt from our mistakes and heading to the last legs it’s about finishing on a high and building the confidence bearing in mind there is Commonwealth and Olympics qualifiers coming,” the stand-in skipper explained.

Speaking at the same function, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Mwangi Muthee said, “We will be facing our toughest pool since we are going to meet top class teams but the bigger the challenge the bigger the expectoration and we are asking players and technical bench to make sure they step up and play the best of their rugby since we want to finish the season on a high.

“We have very many youngsters who are knocking the door eager to play in the national 7s team, so after London we will have learnt our mistakes and if there is any correction to be done, it will be done during off-season where we will get a new squad that will go to camp in preparation for 2014/15 season that will be very important since it will be 2016 Olympics qualifiers.”

Kenya is drawn in Pool C for Glasgow 7s where they will take on Wales, Argentina and Tokyo 7s champions Fiji in Glasgow 7s.

Squad: Collins Injera (c), Horace Otieno, Patrice Agunda, Felix Ayange, Billy Odhiambo, Dennis Ombachi, Biko Adema, Philip Wamae, Michael Wanjala, Oscar Ayodi, Tony Owuor, Michael Agevi.