Friday, March 8, 2013

Scramble for 7s team selection

Harlequin and Kenya Sevens player Eden Agero during a national training session at BrookHouse School on February 15. Agero is expected to be named for the IRB sevens series Hong Kong and Tokyo legs tours. Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO

Harlequin and Kenya Sevens player Eden Agero during a national training session at BrookHouse School on February 15. Agero is expected to be named for the IRB sevens series Hong Kong and Tokyo legs tours. Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO  NATION

By AYUMBA AYODI sayodi@ke.nationmedia.com

Kenya Harlequin backs Sydney Ashioya and Eden Agero are expected to make a comeback when head coach Mike Friday names the Kenya Sevens squad for the Hong Kong and Tokyo legs of the IRB World Sevens Series Saturday.

Ashioya pulled a hamstring during the Dubai Sevens in December while Agero dislocated his shoulder during the Safaricom Sevens. The shoulder problem returned at Gold Coast Sevens.

A source in the team indicated that both players have been at their best, knocking on the doors after recuperating. “They are in great shape, especially Ashioya, who should give on-form Michael Wanjala a run for his money at scrum half position,. Agero, on the other hand is determined to make his maiden IRB World Series appearance” said the source.

Next big thing

Also on the radar are Oscar Ayodi of Homeboyz, Strathmore’s Billy Odhiambo, who is touted as the next big thing in sevens rugby and seasoned Quins back Patrice Agunda.

Ayodi made his Series debut in South Africa and made it to Wellington and Las Vegas.

Agunda is due for a comeback after making his last appearance at South Africa Sevens.

Ashioya, Odhiambo and Agunda were on the reserve list for the previous events in Wellington and Las Vegas, but are likely to make the final squad of 16 for the Hong Kong and Tokyo legs due on March 22 to 24 and March 30 to 31 respectively.

Ayodi and Odhiambo are currently in Zimbabwe with Kenya Shujaa for this weekend’s Zimbabwe International Sevens at the Harare Sports Club. “They will really have to impress to cement their positions in the first team,” said the source.

An interesting inclusion in Shujaa’s team technical bench is South Africa tactician Bronson Weir, who has been engaged by the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) from Western Province.

Sevens development

Weir, who has deputised head coach Felix “Toti” Ochieng for the Zimbabwe Tour, managed Western Province Sevens for last year’s Safaricom Sevens. Weir is also the South Africa Universities Sevens head coach.

KRU director in charge of national teams and elite training Philip Jalang’o said Weir, who has vast experience on sevens development will work with the union’s sevens academy.

“A lot of talented players disappear after high school hence we want to arrest that through programs that Weir will help put in place,” said Jalang’o. “He has been seconded to work with us from Western Province and will be around until the team leaves for Hong Kong.”

Kenya is currently place sixth in the world sevens standings with 57 points.

having reached the Main Cup final at Wellington besides finishing third in Dubai and fourth at Gold Coast. Interestingly, they lost in the Bowl semi-finals in South Africa and Shield semi-finals in Las Vegas.