NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – Head coach Paul Murunga targets to pick at least 10 points in each of the remaing four legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series as Shujaa looks to wade off the scare of relegation at the end of the season.
The team sits at 14th in the series standings with 18 points off six tournaments, four ahead of bottom placed Japan. At the end of the season, the 15th placed team will lose its core status and Kenya stands at that risk.
“We have set out to get 10 points per tournament and that means we need to get into the Cup quarters. I am sure if we can do that we will open the gap between us and Japan to make sure we are safe at the end of the season,” Murunga told Capital Sport.
His sentiments are echoed by stand in skipper Jeff Oluoch who says the team is under no pressure and will be able to disentangle themselves from the snare of relegation.
“We are not really under pressure because we are not at the relegation spot though we are in the bottom two but we believe the team is able to play itself out of the position we are in. We are just taking a match at a time and trying to collect as many points as possible,” stated Oluoch.
Shujaa has had a terrible campaign with their best performance this season being the seven points they picked up in Hamilton. They have picked single points in Dubai Sydney and Vancouver while Las Vegas yielded five.
This was occasioned by a boycott from the senior players over contractual differences with the Uniin which left Murunga, in his first year as Shujaa coach with no option but to use young and untested rookies.
Heading into the final two tours of the season in Asia and Europe, Murunga will have some of the senior players back beginning with the stops in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Among the seniors who have been drafted into the team include former captain Andrew Amonde, Nelson Oyoo and Dan Sikuta.
“In terms of experience, the inclusion of the seniors is a great thing for us because sometimes on the pitch the younger players need some guidance and often you cannot do it as a coach on the touchline,” Murunga said.
“They might not be as fit as they are supposed to be because they are coming from 15s which is very different from 7s in terms of recovery time and the intensity required. But I am confident we will have a better tournament,” the tactician further started.
In Hong Kong, Shujaa will be up against Cape Town and Hamilton Champions Fiji, Dubai and Sydney holders New Zealand as well as Australia, a tough pool by all standards.
“It’s a very tough pool but we will take a game at a time. The key thing is to start our day one well and carry that on to the second day,” the tactician offered.