NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12 – The Kenya 7s star trio of Billy Odhiambo, Nelson Oyoo and Jeff Oluoch will recover in time to be up for the Rugby World Cup Sevens selection, head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu has confirmed.
Simiyu made the announcement after the Kenya Sevens team returned home on Monday night from Paris where they concluded their successful 2017/18 HSBC Sevens World Series campaign as they finally achieved their target of surpassing the 100 point mark, hauling 104 points to finish eighth in the standings.
Oyoo and Oluoch picked ankle injuries while Billy Odhiambo fractured his hand in Paris, but Simiyu said there is no cause for alarm since the players are recovering swiftly and are expected back in training after four weeks.
“We had two wired injuries in Paris but we believe they will be ready for the World Cup. Oyoo can now run Jeff (Oluoch) can move but we will make sure the injuries are not aggravated in training so hopefully in the next two weeks we will have them but Billy is out for four weeks,” Simiyu confirmed.
Simiyu noted that the team will have a four-week intense training program in preparations for the World Cup set to take place from July 20-22 in San Francisco, United States where Kenya will take on Tonga in the pre-quarter final match.
“We will have a four-week training program leading to the World Cup which is a mix of skills and conditioning blocks and also tactical plans based on the teams we are going to face. If you look at the format for the World Cup, you can’t afford to make an error and that means we have to get it right from game one against Tonga and continue ticking the right boxes,” Namcos pointed out.
“We have faced Tonga before especially in the Commonwealth Games. They are very physical team because they play more like Samoa, but I think the pace that the World Rugby Sevens is at right now might be a bit too high for them to handle so we will plan to take advantage of that, it will be physical but we will l minimize it to ensure we don’t pick the injuries,” he added.
After the grueling HSBC Sevens World Series, the team will break for 10 days then resume training after two weeks.
“We did not get the results we wanted in Paris and London but we are very happy with the boys, we are more interested with the performance of the boys, this is one of our best performance ever considering we were in tough pool in London and Paris. We are happy to have ended the season on a high and achieving our target of surpassing 100 points.”
In the last World Cup edition hosted in Moscow, Russia in 2013, Kenya reached the Cup semi-final after losing 12-5 to England.