Kenya Sevens coach unfazed by tough group in fourth leg

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya’s Billy Odhiambo on his way to the try line against England in Hamilton last weekend. Photo/AFP

Kenya sevens technical director-cum coach Paul Feeney is unfazed by the tough pool his side find themselves in ahead of the fourth leg of the World Series in Sydney, Australia this weekend.

Kenya will face Cape Town and Hamilton Sevens champions New Zealand, series defending champions Fiji and bottom-placed Wales in Pool A in Sydney but the New Zealander believes that kind of challenge is what his side need if they have to achieve their ambitions.

“Because of our loss to England and draw to Japan in Hamilton last weekend, we now find ourselves with New Zealand and Fiji, very tough, and Wales but I find the group great and fair.

We can test ourselves against the best teams in the world so it’s the phase to find out where we are,” said Feeney. 

He added: “It will be a great challenge and we are going to find out the good, the bad and the ugly about us and then we got plenty of time to fix a few problems and build on some of our strengths.” 

Shujaa finished eight in Hamilton after losing 24-19 to England, 12-12 draw with Japan and a memorable 46-14 win over South Africa in the group phase before a 19-17 loss to Argentina in the seventh-place playoff. 

And while not overly disappointed with the 10 points they collected, Feeney was not happy with the number of errors they made, especially failing to see off games after taking the lead, which he attributes to lack of concentration.

“We did not make the semi-finals but we have ourselves to blame. Against England, it was a poor performance and we lost by five points  then we played Japan and let ourselves down mentally but we had a meeting that night and had a great response against South Africa.

In the seventh place final, we let it slip in the second half in another very tight game which shows how it is against the top teams,” said Feeney.

The silver lining for Shujaa in Hamilton was the impressive performance of Geoffrey Okwach who scored a try in his debut as Kenya beat South Africa for the first time since the 2015/16 season.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to start against South Africa and it was perfect weekend for me after being named most promising boy of the year in last Friday’s Soya Awards.

As the only rookie in the team, I get to learn first-hand from the vastly experienced stars,” said the 20-year-old. 

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