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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Pressure on Kenya rugby team coach after
dismal show in South Africa Sevens

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Pressure is mounting on Kenya coach Paul Murunga to start chalking up points and pull the national Sevens rugby team from imminent relegation from the World Series circuit.

Kenya has only amassed four points - one in the opening round in Dubai and three in Cape Town - last weekend.

This has seen it swap places with Japan to jump to position 14 leaving the Asian giants together with Africa Champions Zimbabwe facing the axe in the relegation zone.

However, Murunga believes the current team can win some legs in the World Rugby Series.

“If we are patient enough until mid-season, we should win a leg then give ourselves proper conditioning for the coming season,” said Murunga on Monday.

However, the Kenya coach says the focus for him in 2019 will be to guide the team to qualify for the medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and go on to win the World Cup in 2021.

“In 2021 is where the ultimate challenge lies hence we need to build depth in terms of numbers,” he said.

Murunga explained that everything will come in place with proper preparations and motivation to the squad members.

He will also have the service of his senior players, who skipped the first two legs, when the team returns to action in Hamilton, New Zealand on January 26-27, 2019.

“There is not cause for alarm. We have our plans and we need to work steadily to get to the top tier in the standings,” he adds.

Kenya has been pooled in Group C for the third leg of World Rugby Sevens Series in Hamilton, New Zealand. Kenya will have to beat African giants South Africa, Scotland and France to sail through to the Main Cup quarterfinals in New Zealand.

In the first two legs in Dubai and Cape Town, Kenya lost to Scotland in the United Arab Emirates 35-14 while falling 21-17 to France at the same outing.

In Cape Town, Kenya lost to France 19-12. However, they held on to win the Shield Cup in South Africa beating Wales.

USA top the team’s standings with 38 points despite losing Cape Town Sevens final match to Olympic Champions Fiji.

New Zealand are second with 37 points ahead of Fiji (35), England (30) and South Africa (29).

             

 

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