Rugby Rugby

Shujaa confident of attaining 100-point target

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Oscar Ayodi in action for Kenya against France at the Cape Town Sevens in South Africa on December 9, 2017. PHOTO/World Rugby

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6- With six legs left before the 2017-2018 World Sevens Series comes to an end, Kenya is confident of attaining its pre-season target of 100 points and possibly make this the best performing season for the team.

Shujaa are ninth on the Series rankings with 35 points after four legs and have a 65 point deficit from their target which means at least 12 points in each of the remaining six legs.

The target was to attain at least 10 points from each of the 10 legs, but a below par performance in Cape Town saw them hugely recline in the chase. However, the 12 points picked during the Hamilton 7s means the team now has a deficit of five.

“We are on course to achieve that target and the five point deficit will be bridged. We have managed to claw our way back and hopefully we can maintain the same form. The boys are in good spirits and playing good rugby so hopefully we can nurture this moving forward,” head coach Innocent Simiyu has said.

The sentiments are shared by skipper Oscar Ouma who believes the team have shown potential to achieve the target.

“We are on the right track and the target remains on course. We have been improving as a team and I am certain we can bridge the five point deficit,” Ouma noted.

The best performing season for Kenya was 2015/2016 when they managed a haul of 98 points to finish seventh overall and that season included winning a Main Cup title for their first time ever in Singapore.

The team jetted back into the country from their tour of Australia and Hamilton on Tuesday morning and will have a short six-day rest period before they resume training next Monday ahead of the Las Vegas and Vancouver tour next month.

“It is a short turnaround period but we need to continue working. Look at where we did wrong and improve and also work on our strong areas,” added the tactician.

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

Shujaa had their best performance this season in Hamilton where they managed to pick 12 points after losing the fifth cup final to Samoa. They fired within their range in Sydney, picking 10 points after reaching the fifth place semi.

Meanwhile, the tactician says he has been impressed with the impact brought in by young players Arthur Owira, Sam Ng’ethe and Erick Ombassa who have been part of the team in the last tour.

“They have brought energy and some new dynamism into the team because there are some games that they have won for us. The older guys have also done it well because the games that needed experience, they came in handy. We have a very good balance of the two and this makes us play better,” noted the coach.

Shujaa’s next focus will be on Vegas on March 2-4 where they have been pooled alongside New Zealand 7s champions Fiji, France and Russia. After that, they will make the trip to Canada for the Vancouver Sevens from March 10-11.

Their final assignment before the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia will be in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong 7s between April 6 and 8.

For the Vegas leg of the series, Simiyu hopes that his injured duo of Collins Injera and Billy Odhiambo will be ready to add in some firepower to the system.

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