Clubs bear the blame for injuries to sevens players

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Dec 08, 2017
  • Innocent Simiyu, the Kenya Sevens coach looks for consistency in Cape Town. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

The World Rugby Sevens World Series has become a stage for derbies of all sorts and the second tournament in Cape, Town, South Africa is not exempt.

When the pools were announced before teh final between South Africa and New Zealand in the openint tournament in Dubai, a scenario of derbies emerged. Pool A has an African derby between Kenya and South Africa who play the last match on the opening day.

New Zealand and Australia will renew their fierce rivalry in Pool B while England and Scotland also play one another in Pool C with Fiji and Samoa facing off in the Pacific Islands affair in Pool D. 

Kenya will begin their campaign with a tricky match against France before facing an physical and unpredictable Russia before ending with the African derby against South Africa.

There are already signs of what the season could have in store after the opening leg when Collins Injera and Dennis Ombachi flew back home injured.

The blame of their  injuries and that of Andrew Amonde and Billy Odhiambo squarely falls on their clubs. They were inevitable according to a former strength and conditioning coach of the team.

He explained that clubs dememnded that they play in the Kenya Rugby Union National Sevens Circuit before they had completed their rehabilitation program. "It was bound to happen. Players belong to the clubs who call the shots."

They have been replaced by rookies Arthur Owira and Sammy Muregi from KCB and Menengai Oliers. Eric Ombasa who had been named as a replacement had family commitments and opted out. Oscar Ouma, the assistant captain who was left behind when the team departed for Dubai also flew to Cape Town.

Simiyu: We need to execute better

Innocent Simiyu, the Kenya Sevens head coach, in an interview with KRU is optimistic. "We started the seaon well. The boys put their best foot forward . We are so far happy with the perrformance and believe we can build on that. we need to execute better as we have the potential to close the games early. The key focus in Dubai was to get our game going and we achieved this."

Perhaps, Simiyu had in mind the missed opportunities where Kenya had a chance to beat New Zealand but conceded a late try. The 'casual' kicking by Sam Oliech has also come to the fore where he has missed kickable conversions. Kenya's game management when in the lead and handling errors are some of the key talking points after Dubai.

Simiyu  said the key focus in Cape Town would be consistency. "Our key focus in Cape Town is to have the boys consistently perform to their full potential and better last year's cup quarter final performance," Simiyu stated.

In Dubai, Kenya beat Canada 29-15 in their opening match before being pelted 48-5 by South Africa but bounced to edge out Uganda 29-14 to proceed to the cup quarter finals where they were beaten 14-12 by New Zealand and 19-12 by Australia in the playoff for fifth and sixth position semis.

Simiyu also commented on the new inclusions: "Oscar brings leadership, experiene and raw power to our game which will be very vital for a good start in Cape Town. Muregi adds pace to the team. His understanding of the game and try-scoring ability are second to none while Arthur has had a very good sevens season with his club KCB and his work rate on the pitch will help us alot at the break down.

Kenya is seventh with 10 points after the Dubai sevens tournament. 

Cape Town Sevens Pools 

Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, France, Russia.

Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Spain, USA.

Pool C: England, Scotland, Argentina, Uganda.

Pool D: Fiji, Samoa, Canada, Wales.

Order of play, Day one

Samoa v Canada, Fiji v Wales, Scotland v Argentina, England v Uganda, Australia v Spain, New Zealand v USA, Kenya v France, South Africa v Russia, Samoa v Wales, Fiji v Canada, Scotland v Uganda, England v Argentina, Australia v USA, New Zealand v Spain, Kenya v Russia, South Africa v France, Canada v Wales, Fiji v Samoa, Argentina v Uganda, England v Scotland, Spain v USA, New Zealand v Australia, France v Russia, South Africa v Kenya.

Day two

Challenge Trophy quarters: A3 v D4, C3v B4, D3 v A4, B3 v C4.

Cup quarter finals: A1 v D2, C1 v B2, D1 v A2,  B1 v C2.

Additional report by KRU