Kenya Sevens want nothing short of a Cup quarter-final in their North American sojourn as the World Rugby Sevens Series reverts to its traditional format.
Unlike in the last two legs held in Hamilton, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia where group winners faced off in the Cup semi-finals, action in Los Angeles on February 29 to March 1 and Vancouver on March 7 to 8 will see the top two nations from the four pools advance to the Cup quarter-finals.
Placed 11th in the Series standings, Kenya will face second placed South Africa, ninth-ranked Ireland and Canada (10th) in Pool “B” in Los Angeles.
“The best format in the Series is where the top two go to the Cup quarters. We are in a very difficult group, but we want to reach the Cup quarter-finals in Los Angeles,” said Kenya coach Paul Feeney after making five changes to the squad that finished last in Sydney.
Devastating ball carrier Oscar Ouma, who famously smashed New Zealand rugby legend Sonny Bill Williams flat on his back in their 2016 Wellington Sevens Cup quarters match, Samuel Oliech, Daniel Sikuta, Oscar Dennis and Jacob Ojee are back in the team. Ouma and Oliech last represented Shujaa in the Series in the 2017-2018 season, while Ojee, Sikuta and Dennis missed the Oceania trip due to injury and squad rotation.
Shujaa captain Andrew Amonde described the team as strong and well-balanced.
“The format used in New Zealand and Sydney was very demanding. The old format where the top-two teams sail to the Cup quarters gives us a second chance,” he said.
Regarding plans for Shujaa after the postponement of the Hong Kong and Singapore legs due to the coronavirus outbreak, Kenya Rugby Union revealed on Thursday that arrangements were being made for Shujaa to feature in an international tournament.
Andrew Amonde (KCB, Captain), Jeffrey Oluoch (Homeboyz), Collins Injera (Stanbic Mwamba), Daniel Taabu (Stanbic Mwamba), Billy Odhiambo (Stanbic Mwamba), Daniel Sikuta (Kabras Sugar), Oscar Ouma (Top Fry Nakuru), Oscar Dennis (Nondescripts), Samuel Oliech (Resolution Impala Saracens), Jacob Ojee (KCB), William Ambaka (Kenya Harlequin), Vincent Onyala (KCB), Alvin Otieno (Homeboyz).