Rugby Rugby

Shujaa ready to take on big boys in Hamilton

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Kenya’s Daniel Sikuta charges against South Africa captain Philip Snyman on day three of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney on 28th January, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2- A 10 point minimum target exists for Kenya as they prepare for the fourth leg of the World Sevens Series in Hamilton, New Zealand this weekend.

But, head coach Innocent Simiyu will target an improvement from last weekend’s performance in Sidney, Australia.

Shujaa finished with 10 points after losing to Fiji in the fifth place semi-finals, a seven point improvement from their three point haul in Cape Town.

Kenya are in Pool D and will battle out for one of the two available Main Cup quarter final slots with former head coach Mike Friday’s United States, Samoa and Canada, a tough call for Shujaa who have a few of their star players missing.

Simiyu consents that this pool will not be a walk in the park but insists the team’s performance and improvement have been on the upward trajectory and will give an even more assured show in New Zealand.

“We have a tough pool but believe we have done our homework well and trust the players will play with pride and impress us all. Our key focus is to meet our performance targets especially in attack. Hopefully we will get the results we all want,” Simiyu told KRU ahead of this weekend’s assignment.

Shujaa are placed ninth on the World Rugby table with 23 points, same as Canada who are a place lower due to points difference with Samoa two places down with a one point difference.

Fiji’s Sevuloni Mocenacagi attacks the Kenya defense on day three of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney on 28th January, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Friday’s USA are five points ahead at seventh.

They begin their campaign with Samoa at 1am Saturday morning, taking on a side that narrowly edged them out 19-17 during their last meeting at the Cape Town leg of the Series in December last year.

Prior to their South African meeting, Kenya had beaten Samoa with a healthy 17-7 gap at the Singapore leg of the 2016/2017 series in April last year. Shujaa find themselves on the right side of history as they have managed to win seven of their last 10 assignments against Samoa.

Shujaa then take on Canada at 4:26am, before winding up their group ties against the USA at 8:22am.

In the other groups, log leaders South Africa headline Pool B where they will battle out with Papua New Guinea, Russia and perennial rivals England.

Second placed New Zealand’s All Blacks are in Pool C alongside Argentina’s Pumas, France and Scotland. Pool A will see Australia, Fiji, Wales and Spain clash.

This is the first time that Hamilton is hosting a World Sevens Series leg.

Shujaa squad

Nelson Oyoo, Oscar Ouma (Nakuru,Captain), Samuel Oliech (Impala Saracens, Vice Captain), Brian Tanga, Dan Sikuta (Kabras Sugar),Willy Ambaka, Eden Agero (Kenya Harlequins), Andrew Amonde, Arthur Owira (KCB), Erick Ombasa, Samuel Ng’ethe (Menengai Oilers), Augustine Lugonzo (Homeboyz).

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