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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Rugby Africa president upbeat continents’
four teams to win Sevens World Cup    

NAIROBI,  (Xinhua) -- Rugby Africa President Abdelaziz Bougja says the continent has strong teams that can win the Sevens World Cup, which will be held this weekend in San Francisco, USA.

Africa will have four teams out of the 24 that will be battling it out in the competition. New Zealand’s men and women are the defending champions and will be keen to do everything to retain their titles but Bougja says it will be African team that will wrest the crown at the end of the competition on Sunday.

Africa teams in the competition are Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the men’s competition while only South Africa will be representing the continent in the women’s cadre.

“They are strong teams in their own right and will fight it out and hopefully, one of the four men’s teams will win the tournament. Kenya and South Africa have dominated the World Series circuit and hopefully that will be shown in the World Cup too,” said Bougja on Monday.

South Africa has been seeded top owing to their good run in the World Series. Kenya will be number nine and will have to play in the preliminary round against Tonga before joining the eight top seeds. Winner of the match will meet Scotland to determine who make it to the quarterfinals.

This will be Kenya’s fifth consecutive Rugby World Cup Sevens appearance and former head coach Benjamin Ayimba said the team has the capacity to make history and win the World Cup for the first time.

“They are a strong team better than any other before. With some luck, they will go all the way to the Main Cup finals,” he said.

Ayimba played at Kenya’s first ever World Cup in 2001 in Argentina and captained the team at their second show at the 2005 event in Hong Kong.

Ayimba later returned as head coach in 2009 and made history as he guided the team to finish third in Dubai in 2009. 

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Kenyan team off to US for Rugby Sevens World Cup    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Sevens team jetted out Sunday for the World Cup in San Francisco, the United States, in a bid to go past the semi-final stage.

Head coach Innocent Simiyu has opted to wrap his team on the steel of experience and called up four players from the team that competed at the 2014 World Cup in Moscow.

The four, Collins Injera, a member of the 2009 and 2013 semifinalist squads as well as Andrew Amonde, Willy Ambaka and Eden Agero who made the last tourney, will guide the team as it seeks its first Cup win this season.

“Our training has been good and it is always good to have headache in selection based on all players being available. Most of these players are young while some have been here before. They will learn from each other,” said Simiyu, Sunday in Nairobi.

Simiyu, who made his World Cup debut as a player in 2005 and who was a member of the pioneering Kenya team in 2009,  has come off a season in which the side has set some milestones, reaching two successive cup finals in Vancouver and Hong Kong.

Commenting on his squad selection ahead of the tournament in San Francisco, Simiyu believes it is the best side ever and capable of beating any team.

“We have a very strong squad based on training. The guys have really trained hard and we believe we have selected the best team that can represent the country. We’re looking for good performances from the players and hopefully we can get some good results,” said Simiyu.

Kenya will have no rehearsals as the organizers Rugby World have changed the tournament format, with Kenya among the teams that have to play in the knockout stage to qualify for the last eight.

Kenya will face Tonga and the winner will meet Scotland in the last eight. 

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