Kenya, the defending Singapore Sevens champions will be in a familiar territory when they play Argentina in the opening match of the eighth tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Series.
Last year, the teams met in the semi-finals of a memorable match which Kenya won 15-12.
The man of the moment was Collins Injera. In an interview with World Rugby, Injera remembered the moment when he kicked over a long-range penalty which saw Kenya book a place in the final against Fiji.
“If I remember well, I had missed the conversion earlier in the match which was relatively easy. I talked to the captain (Andrew (Amonde) and said let me have a shot.
"He looked at me and told me to go and have a shot at it. I just wanted to hit the ball as hard as I can and that’s what I did. I managed to get the technique right and the power.”
It was no coincidence because Injera sporadically kicks for his club side Mwamba. He admits there are good kickers in the Kenya Sevens team.
“I am a kicker but I think we have better kickers in the team,”Injera told World Rugby in Singapore.
Rarely does a defending champion go into a tournament with an underdog tag. Kenya reached the final of the Challenge Trophy in Hong Kong last weekend.
It is at this level they have been ‘stuck’ for the better part of the season under the new coach Innocent Simiyu. Two key players withdrew at the last hour before the team departed for Hong Kong.
Kenya are in Pool C with Australia, Argentina and Samoa. Amonde said: “It is a pool we can go through if we work very smart. We must win against Argentina. Samoa and Australia have knocked us out at crucial moments.”
Before departing Hongkong, the skipper predicted: "We will have a great tournament in Singapore. We have picked up very well. We just need to be smart on how we are going to focus on the teams in our pool.”
Looking back at Hong Kong, the KCB utility forward acknowledged: "It was a tough weekend in Hong Kong, A three-day tournament drains everything out of the players. We don’t enjoy playing under this system. But, the players stood up and played very well despite the hard times.”
The narrow losses in Hong Kong gave Amonde the right vibe ahead of Singapore Sevens. "When the boys were left to express themselves, they did it fully. The nice thing that happened in Hong Kong was a self drive decision that the players came up with.
"We have a very unique and talented young boys who have turned into men. The self drive came after playing South Africa. We came with a game plan that did'nt work against SA and we just went back to our strengths and it turned out to work very well against France and continued the momentum."
Injera used sparingly
On the second day, Injera was used sparingly and Kenya had Eden Agero suspended for three matches but will be available in Singapore.
Amonde and Ombachi were some of the top players in Hong Kong. “It is nice to have Ombachi (Dennis) back. He is at his almost best.”
Billy Odhiambo, a last minute replacement was also used sparingly. “Bill is still struggling but should be okay for the weekend.”
Another player capable of delivering is Frank Wanyama. "Frank, when he gets in the mood, he is a beast," Amonde stated.
Kenya climbed to 11th position from 12th after the Hong Kong tournament.
Singapore Sevens draw
Pool A: Fiji, Canada, Russia, Hong Kong.
Pool B: South Africa, England, France, Japan.
Pool C: Australia, Argentina, Kenya, Samoa.
Pool D: USA, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales.
Order of play
Saturday: Argentina v Kenya, Australia v Samoa, England v France, South Africa v Japan, Canada v Russia, Fiji v Hong Kong, New Zealand v Scotland, USA v Wales, Argentina v Samoa, Australia v Kenya, England v Japan, South Africa v France, Canada v Hong Kong, Fiji v Russia, New Zealand v wales, USA v Scotland, Kenya v Samoa, Australia v Argentina, France v Japan, South Africa v England, Russia v Hong Kong, Fiji v Canada, Scotland v Wales, USA v New Zealand.
Challenge Trophy quarter finals: A3 v D4, C3 v B4, D3 v A4, B3 v C4.
Cup quarter finals: A1 v D2, C1 v B2, D1 v A2, B1 v C2.