Friday headache after 7s display
Posted Monday, September 24 2012 at 20:27
- Kenya’s good run presents a tough task for the technical bench in coming up with the finest 12 for the opening leg of the IRB Series in Gold Coast, Australia
- While the team registered huge improvement in skills and conditioning of the players, Friday and Ochieng have little time to improve on the weak areas
- The team resumes training on Thursday before the final team is named next week
The display by Kenya teams Moran and Shujaa at the just-ended Safaricom Safari Sevens has revived the hopes of rugby fans ahead of next season’s IRB World Sevens Circuit.
Kenya’s good run now presents a tough task for the technical bench in coming up with the finest 12 for the opening leg of the IRB Series in Gold Coast, Australia, with deputy coach Felix Ochieng describing it as ‘a good problem.’
Morans had a good run against South Africa Sevens Elite Development side, narrowly losing 21-17. Head coach Mike Friday reckons that the loss by Shujaa in the semi-finals and Moran in the final to the South Africans is the harsh reality of the shorter version of the game and the team needs to work on the mistakes before heading to Gold Coast.
While the team registered huge improvement in skills and conditioning of the players, Friday and Ochieng have little time to improve on the weak areas.
Morans were impressive, with superb physical display and ball carrying as they stuck to their structures to whip Uganda Cranes 28-0, Rwanda 40-7 and Grenoble 17-14. They stood their ground against Samurai in the semi-finals, winning 24-5 and matched ball to ball, especially in the breakdown battle against the enterprising South Africans.
Few lapses cost them victory in the final match that boiled down to details.
Shujaa, on the other hand, gelled well and despite being in a tough pool, got off the blocks well to stun favourites Samurai in the highlight of their pool before clipping Western Province and Uganda Kobs.
Grenoble were an easy opponent for them in the main Cup quarters as they won 33-7 but conceded most of the tries following mistakes in ball handling and defense to fall to South Africa Elite Development side 7-29.
While the consistency of Mwamba’s Dennis Ombachi who played for Morans and the powerful display from enterprising Kenya Harlequin player William Ambaka for Shujaa stood out, Mwamba’s Dan Sikuta and Cyprian Kuto of Strathmore were the revelations of the tournament on their debut for Kenya.
“Ombachi and Ambaka were fun to watch but it was all about team work,” said Ochieng. “Sikuta and Kuto did what was expected of them but they are not yet there in terms of conditioning and skills,” he added.
Other notable performers were by Biko Adema (Shujaa) and David Ambunya (Morans) who provided good base for tries. Andrew Amonde who captained Moran and Kevin Keegan also stood out.
“What pleased me is that the players are slowly believing in themselves as they get better skills and understanding,” said Friday.
Ochieng said the 24 players offers coaches a large pool from which to select the team. The team resumes training on Thursday before the final team is named next week. Friday faces his former side England, Samoa and Spain in their pool in Gold Coast.