Shujaa kick-off rugby series against USA in Dubai
Kenya Rugby Sevens head coach Innocent Namcos Simiyu is optimistic that the team will make it to the Dubai 7s quarterfinals should the team kick-off on a winning note against USA during their first match at 9.16am today.
“We have a tough pool but we believe we can qualify if we win our first match and build on that,” Simiyu told People sports on phone from Dubai.
Commenting on his strategy as he plans to better last season’s results where Kenya was third globally after Edmonton sevens in Canada in the month of October, Namcos believes his charges are raring to go.
“We have had a good week of training capped with the captains run today. The boys are all fired up and ready to battle,” he said.
Kenya is in pool B of the competition where their rivalry with Argentina and Spain will be renewed at the Sevens stadium.
Shujaa will play Argentina at 1.30pm then wrap up the opening day at 4.02 pm against Spain. Against the Pumas it will be a vengeance mission to settle scores with Madrid 7s defending champions after Shujaa in the month of February lost two cup finals - back-to-back to the Pumas in Madrid while against Spain, it will all about pride and maintaining winning ways.
The opening round of the 10-legged 2022 HSBC World Rugby sevens series will definitely be a tough outing for Shujaa who seek to improve on last season’s performance where the team was placed third behind South Africa and Germany respectively.
Thus Shujaa will be entering as favourites against Olympic bronze medallists Argentina, 2019 series runners up USA and Spain in a 12-team competition that welcomes back Fiji, Australia, France, Japan and Argentina.
The other pools will also bring back to life rivalry that was temporarily suspended when some core teams opted not to participate in the 2021 edition.
In Dubai, however, all core teams are back and in pool A a returning trio of Fiji, France and Australia are back to and could give the pool headliner – Canada a heartbreak in a season the team is after improving their 2021 fourth place finish.
Pool C will have the series defending champs South Africa attempt to maintain last season’s unbeaten form against last season runners up Great Britain, Ireland and Japan. The team will be skippered by Nelson Oyoo assisted by Herman Humwa.
The 16 men’s core teams after the Dubai events are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales.
The 11 core women’s teams after the Dubai events are Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and USA.