Kenya look forward to next HSBC World Rugby Series season with renewed optimism
Kenya Rugby Sevens head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu is pleased with the role five debutants played in ensuring the country secured a medal in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at the weekend.
Kenya recorded one of its best seasonal performances after finishing third overall after walloping hosts Canada 33-14 to collect bronze at the Edmonton Sevens.
Shujaa boss told People Sport the team collected a crucial lesson heading into the next incoming season that kicks off with the Dubai leg in November.
“The best part was how we were able to participate in the two tournaments with five debutants and still be able to get a medal,” said Simiyu.
On the crucial lesson that came at a cost of four losses in the two tournaments in Vancouver and Edmonton, he noted the squad will be geared towards executing early through their opener phases of play to grab crucial leads as demonstrated by teams like South Africa throughout the tournament.
“Our execution of the first two phases is key,” said Namcos.
The matches played at the Commonwealth Stadium over the weekend concluded the 2021 World SevensSeries with South Africa sealing the overall title win thanks to an early confirmation when they downed Kenya 33-7 in the cup semi-finals.
Shujaa needed to win the semis to solidify their chances of winning the Edmonton title and overall title in the case the Blitboks had finished fourth but the dream went up in smoke after the African rivals stood their ground despite receiving hard hits by Shujaa.
South Africa leads the finals standings with a total of 40 points, six ahead of second placed Great Britain who are tied with third placed Kenya on 34 points but it was team GB that claimed the second spot thanks to topping their pool in Vancouver to ensure an upper hand in the number of wins.
Hosts Canada and USA finished fourth and fifth respectively with 24 and 22 points in that order.
Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain and Jamaica completed their run in the top 10 respectively in a season that will not have promotion nor relegation.
Vancouver Sevens impact forward duo of Jeff Oluoch and Alvin Otieno were assisted by Herman Humwa in making huge carries against the Blitzboks to highlight a bang first half that caught their captain Siviwe Soyizwapi offguard with two bump offs to send him to the ground twice but the skipper shrugged off the hits to retaliate.