The Kenya seven-a-side team’s rugby winger Collins Injera wants to be one of the top try scorers during the 2008/09 International Rugby Board Sevens World Series.
Injera, a younger brother to the sevens team captain Humphrey Kayange, stunned the world by finishing top of the log when the series kicked off in Dubai last year by scoring seven tries. He had a dry spell in George, South Africa by scoring only two tries.
Injera has promised to bounce back if selected for the next two tournaments in New Zealand and USA next month. At the moment, he is placed third after two tournaments, a position he is not comfortable with. Only one other Kenya player has enjoyed the podium — when Oscar Osir topped the log three seasons ago.
In an interview with the Nation Sports Desk, Injera says his is a realistic and achievable goal. Some of the players who pose a threat are South Africa’s duo of Robert Ebersohn and Fabian Juries, New Zealand’s Tomasi Cama and Samoa’s Mikaele Pesamino.
Injera would like to finish among the top three as a minimum target although anywhere among the top five would also be acceptable.
The soft-spoken speed merchant owes his performance to the team and admits that without hard work by the forwards and backs, he would be unable to cross the line often. “The balls come from my colleagues and I am just a finisher,” Injera admits. But he is also a solid tackler and good cover defender.
Having his elder brother Kayange in the team is also an inspiration. “We play together at Mwamba RFC and it is easy to read his or my moves,” Injera adds.
Three brothers in the family play rugby. Kayange and Injera play for Mwamba while the youngest, Michael Agevi, is already a first team player at Kakamega High School. Their sister, Lydiah, is a staunch rugby fan.
Injera picked up the rugby bug at Vihiga High School under the captaincy of Mwamba scrum-half Edgar Abere. Kayange was at St. Peter’s Mumias. The brothers then moved to the then Ulinzi RFC which blazed the trail in the late 90’s at the invitation of Kenya Sevens vice captain Dennis Mwanja.
Some of the role models for Injera are New Zealand’s Joe Rokocoko and South Africa’s Bryan Habana. “You know these are all wingers and match winners any day,” he adds.
Injera believes Kenya’s potential in the IRB Sevens World Series is yet to be realised.
“We are competing against fully professional sides and just imagine if we had a fraction of what they have at their disposal?
Obviously with more incentive like Harambee Stars or athletics team are being given by the government, this team could move mountains,” the winger states.
The government promised support for the national seven-a-side rugby team as they prepare for the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament to be hosted in Dubai from March 5. Injera’s debut in the IRB Sevens World Series was in 2006 in Dubai.