alexa Kenya face South Africa in Dubai 7s opener - Daily Nation

Kenya face South Africa in Dubai 7s opener

Wednesday December 4 2019

Kenya's Andrew Amonde (left) runs in a try against South Africa on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | MIKE LEE |

Kenya's Andrew Amonde (left) runs in a try against South Africa on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | MIKE LEE |  WORLD RUGBY

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya launch their Dubai Sevens title quest against South Africa at 6.54pm on Thursday at The Sevens Stadium.

Action will resume the following day with Paul Feeney's charges facing England at 12.26pm before wrapping up their Pool "D" outings against Spain at 6.32pm.

Team captain Andrew Amonde, who will be deputised by Jeffrey Oluoch and Jacob Ojee, who captained the team at different occasions last year, is confident that the team will bounce back strongly this year after a torrid previous season.

“Our main focus is to get it right from the beginning. We are looking forward to a good tournament,” said Amonde.

Kenya Sevens will be at full strength despite the absence of seasoned players like injured speedster Collins Injera.

Kenya was forced to use second string sides comprising rookies for the better part of last season after senior players declined to sign revised contracts following the withdrawal of shirt sponsors SportPesa.

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Amonde was among the few players who made a return in the last four legs as Kenya Sevens escaped relegation by a whisker, finishing 13th and two places above the cut of zone with 37 points.

Billy “The Kid” Odhiambo, William Ambaka and Nelson Oyoo are among players making a return after missing last season. Also making the cut are Daniel Taabu, Vincent Onyala, Johnstone Olindi, Bush Mwale, Alvin Otieno and Oscar Dennis.

Kenya finished last in Dubai last year to get one point.

South Africa settled fourth overall last season with 148 points, having won two legs in Canada and Singapore.

They finished sixth in Dubai last season after losing to Fiji 24-19 in the final for fifth place.

They will be on hunt for their seventh Dubai Sevens title as the event celebrates 50th anniversary. They won last in 2017.

Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said he is happy most of his players are in good form in the likes of Rosko Specman, Ruhan Nel, Seabelo Senatla and Dylan Sage.

“Everyone in the squad will get the opportunity in the series, and what they do with that will be crucial for them. These four players showed the desire and form to be here and that made selecting them easy,” Powell explained. “Everyone is fresh and keen to implement the things they worked on, and to give it all.”

SQUAD

Andrew Amonde, Jacob Ojee, Jeff Olouch, Alvin Otieno, Nelson Oyoo, Vincent Onyala, Johnston Olindi, Willy Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo, Oscar Dennis, Daniel Taabu, Bush Mwale and Dan Sikuta.

POOLS

Pool A: Fiji, France, Argentina, Japan

Pool B: USA, Australia, Scotland, Ireland

Pool C: New Zealand, Samoa, Canada, Wales

Pool D, SA, England, Spain Kenya

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