Kenya Sevens will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing start at the season opening Dubai Sevens as the 2018/2019 World Rugby Sevens Series heads to Cape Town, South Africa this weekend.
Shujaa, who finished last in Dubai after losing all their matches, are in a tough Pool C where they will be up against Dubai Sevens bronze medallists England, Fiji and France in the second leg of the series at the Cape Town Stadium.
Paul Murunga’s boys open their campaign against England, who finished third in Dubai at 12.21pm (Kenyan time), before clashing with Fiji at 3.20pm.
Kenya and Fiji were in the same pool in Dubai and the Fijians cruised to a 43-12 win. Shujaa’s last game of the day will be against France (6.41pm), another side they faced in the preliminary stage in Dubai, going down 21-19.
The poor showing in Dubai was Kenya Sevens’ worst ever performance since the Paris 7s leg of the 2016/2017 World Rugby Sevens Series, where they collected one point after losing in the semi-final for 13th place.
This was the first time Shujaa failed to win a match in the pool stage since the 2014/2015 season at the Dubai, South Africa and Hong Kong Sevens.
It was also the first time Kenya failed to win a match in the Series since the London Sevens leg of the 2011/2012 season.
The onus will be on Murunga, who was named head coach in October replacing Innocent Simiyu, to get the team back on track. He will, however, have to make do without the services of Jeff Oluoch, who flew home after the Dubai leg.
Oluoch was arguably Kenya Sevens’ best player in Dubai despite their poor run.
KCB’s Vincent Onyalla and Homeboyz flyer Cyprian Kuto joined the team in Cape Town, but it’s however not clear who between the two additions will be the 13th player.
Eric Ogweno, Kenya Sevens Team Manager, said that Oluoch had to fly back home to attend to personal issues.
“It’s unfortunate that we won’t have Jeff in Cape Town but we believe that Cyprian and Onyalla will provide adequate cover in the tournament,” he told Nation Sport via phone on Wednesday.