Kayange:Task ahead is Herculean

Mar 22, 2011

Humphrey Kayange and Sidney Ashioya, the two players who were left behind when the national seven-a-side team flew out on Sunday are on their way to Hong Kong.

Speaking to sportsnewsarena.com before leaving, Kayange , Kayange said the task ahead was herculean. “You know the pedigree of Fiji. They know what we are capable of but every team have their good and bad days. It will be a tough match especially because they have some experienced players back. Kenya is very competitive and I am encouraged by our results in the last tournament and hope we can improve.

This is no easy pool. Russia is a very physical side and have some pace in open play. They are an emerging force and can only lay their claim by beating ranked teams like us. It will boost their ego. These are interesting times for Kenya. Look at the new emerging talent. Our aim is to finish top of this tough pool and proceed to the main cup where we can chase for more points.”

In Hong Kong, coach Benjamin Ayimba had a light session to shake off the effects of the flight. “All is well and we are raring to go. Every tournament is tough and we will take it one game at a time. We have set some goals and unless something happens, I have a good feeling about this team.”

With the fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Hong Kong Sevens set to kick off on Friday 25th March 2011,we take a look at Pool D, where the Kenyan national sevens team has been pooled alongside Fiji, Russia and Malaysia.

Fiji

Last season in HK: Cup semi finalists
Last season in World Series: 4th
Position this season: 3rd=

Simply gobsmacking on their day and at their best totally unplayable. Tied for third with Samoa so far this season and that just about sums up their overall performance: good but no cigar. They are getting better, though, as proven by their first Cup final appearance last time out in Las Vegas and their squad selection here shows firstly how desperate they are for a first title since Wellington last year and secondly how much the 'bigger' players go out of their way to muscle their way into the reckoning for Hong Kong.  In come Setefano Cakau, Osea Kolinisau and Dale Tonawai to back up the simply outstanding Seremaia Burotu and Emosi Vucago. Will it all click into place for them and their honest coach Iliesa Tanivula? If it does they could well be on the winner's podium.


Kenya
Last season in HK: Plate semi finalists
Last season in World Series: 8th
Position this season: 9th
Best result this season: Plate runners-up (USA)
Result at last event: Plate runners-up (Las Vegas 2011)
Top try-scorer this season: Humphrey Kayange (12)
Top try-scorer all time: Collins Injera (106)
Last 30 World Series matches: W12, L18

What a difference Collins Injera makes. Absent for the first two tournaments in Dubai and South Africa, the speedster returned for Wellington and Las Vegas and scorched over for 11 tries, one fewer than his brother and captain Humphrey Kayange, their leading scorer for the whole season. They miss the bulk of Victor Oduor and the prowess of Dennis Mwanja when they're not available up front but in the backs they're lightening fast with Injera the master opportunist. Should be a good tussle and a real contrast of styles against the Russians in this pool.

Russia
Last season in HK: Shield finalists
Last season in World Series: No Series points
Position this season: No Series points


Both in the 15-man game and Sevens the Russians are arriving, and fast. Qualified last year in 15s for a first ever Rugby World Cup and the trickle effect is already happening. Nowhere, perhaps, might Sevens' new Olympic status have more impact than Russia, where rugby was quickly drafted into the school sporting curriculum. As the hosts of the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens they have a real incentive to improve too and with players like Vasily Artemyev and Vladimir Ostroushko they will do quickly. 

Malaysia
Last season in HK: N/A
Last season in World Series: No Series points
Position this season: No Series points
Best result this season: N/A

Little experience on the Sevens World Series but increasingly given a chance to develop by Asia's own Sevens Series, where they compete. Outclassed by the bigger Asian rugby powers like Japan, Hong Kong and Korea but finished a very creditable fifth place at the Asian Games in November with wins on the final day against both Sri Lanka and India.

Hong Kong Sevens Pools

Pool A:New Zealand, France, Portugal, South Korea
Pool B: England, USA, Japan, China
Pool C: Samoa, Scotland, Tonga, Mexico
Pool D: Fiji, Kenya, Russia, Malaysia
Pool E: South Africa, Wales, Hong Kong, Spain
Pool F:Australia, Argentina, Canada, Zimbabwe.


 irbsevens 

Additional reporting by Eric Odanga