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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya sevens team eyes wins in Sydney,
Hamilton legs of World Rugby Series

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan rugby players will temporarily forget their financial woes to put up a big fight in their quest for victory at the Hamilton and Sydney Sevens in New Zealand and Australia respectively.

Kenya’s Rugby Union is restructuring and has suspended all contracts with players as it seeks a new sponsor. However, the country must honor its obligation to play at the World Series.

Team captain Oscar Ayodi, although injured and out of the two tournaments, said his team is focused and they will not dwell much on the financal issues, but play patriotically to see that Kenya secures the highest points and edges closer to attaining their target of winning over 100 points in the nine-leg circuit.

“The team is always intact. We have good cohesion and we must honor those two legs. It is always an honor to play for Kenya. Preparations have been going on smoothly and everyone is ready,” he said on Friday in Nairobi.

After the first two rounds of play in Dubai and Cape Town, Kenya is in position 11 in the series with 13 points. In Sydney, Kenya has a hard task as it faces giants Argentina, France and Wales in the group stages.

“We have trained well and are sure that the players will give a good performance. Our key focus is to meet our set standards consistently,” said head coach Innocent Simiyu.

However, the skipper, who will not be leading from the front courtesy of the injury he sustained, said he is happy with the return of some key players to the squad including Vice-captain Oscar Ouma and Andrew Amonde.

“We have analyzed our pool for the Sydney Sevens and I am confident the hard work we have put in the past three weeks will pay off. We have also changed our style of play and worked on our few mistakes. I am sure the team will deliver good results,” said Ayodi.

Coach Simiyu has handed Erick Ombasa his international debut. Samuel Ng’ethe and Arthur Owira, who debuted in Cape Town, are again included for the trip down under while another debutante is Herman Humwa, who misses out after featuring in Dubai and Cape Town.

Andrew Amonde, absent from the opening legs in Dubai and Cape Town has recovered from injury to make the travelling party which will be captained by Oscar Ouma in the absence of Ayodi, who is recovering from a knee injury.

The Kenyan team includes Oscar Ouma (Captain), Samuel Oliech, Dan Sikuta, Willy Ambaka, Andrew Amonde, Arthur Owira, Eden Agero, Brian Tanga, Jeff Oluoch, Nelson Oyoo, Erick Ombasa, Samuel Ng’ ethe and Augustine Lugonzo.

           

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