Kenya Back To Elite 8 in Adelaide Sevens

Mar 14, 2011

Kenya has been drawn in Pool A of the Australian International Rugby Sevens in Adelaide, the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

It is the third time that Kenya and joint HSBC Sevens World Series New Zealand have been drawn in the same pool.  The teams were pooled together in South Africa and USA.  It is the second time that Kenya and Wales have been drawn in the same pool which also has New Zealand.

In the USA Sevens, Kenya, New Zealand and Wales were in the same Pool while Kenya was also drawn in the same pool with Wales in the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens at the start of the 2010/2011 HSBC Sevens World Series.

Adelaide Sevens reverts back to the two-day format after experimenting with the three-day format. The tournament will be played at the city's historic Adelaide Oval on 2-3 April, one week after the Hong Kong Sevens, with hosts Australia drawn in a tough pool alongside Fiji, USA and Tonga.  

At the halfway stage in the HSBC Sevens World Series Kenya is placed ninth with 12 points. New Zealand and England are tied on 80 points at the top of the standings. Fiji and Samoa lie just 16 points behind on 64, the most recent Cup champions South Africa are still well in contention on 56 and Australia head the rest of the chasing pack on 36 heading for Hong Kong and Adelaide.

Joint Series leaders New Zealand and England head Pools A and B respectively in Adelaide. Eight-time World Series winners New Zealand face matches on day one against Kenya, Wales and the first of the regional qualifiers, Cook Islands. England who missed out on the Cup final for the first time this season in Las Vegas and will be looking to kick-start their season in Pool B with opening matches against Argentina, Scotland and Papua New Guinea. USA Sevens runners-up Fiji head Pool C and face three tough matches against host nation Australia, USA and Tonga.

Having won the Cup title in Las Vegas, their first since winning in Adelaide in April 2009, South Africa head Pool D. The resurgent Boks face defending Adelaide and World Series champions Samoa as well as France and Japan.

In Adelaide, where Kenya reached her first final in history, Kenya is back to the familiar rungs as they play New Zealand in the last match. Reaching the Plate final in Las Vegas helped raise Kenya’s rankings back to the top eight after a dismal performance in the opening two legs. 

“It will be good if Kenya could have a good performance in Adelaide and make up for a disappointing show last year. The fans have always been supportive and we will strive to reach greater heights. The draws are never easy for any team and Adelaide is a familiar case. It is only a matter of time before we beat New Zealand again.”

"In USA, we had them on the back foot but were let off the hook. The 50/50 calls went to New Zealand and up to now, I firmly believe that the sending off of Gibson Weru was a big mistake. The replays show that he did not do anything. It was a bad call by the referee of the day and not reversible. We have had some close matches in the opening four tournaments and I am confident that the big break will come soon. It could be in any of the remaining four tournaments,” Ayimba stated.

Humphrey Kayange, the Kenya captain observed that Wales were always fired up against Kenya. They have met twice this year with Wales winning 17-12 in Dubai and Kenya returning the favor in USA 19-12.

 “They are the world champions and have some new players who are quick. The matches against Wales are always close and Adelaide is another stage where these two teams will be looking for an advantage. Usually, the bounce of the ball decides the result,” the mercurial player added.

Adelaide Sevens Draw
Pool A: New Zealand, Kenya, Wales, Cook Islands
Pool B: England, Scotland, Argentina, Papua New Guinea.
Pool C: Fiji, USA, Australia, Tonga.
Pool D: South Africa, Samoa, France, Japan.

Order of play: South Africa v France, Samoa v Japan, New Zealand v Wales, Kenya v Cook Islands, England v Scotland, Argentina v Papua New Guinea, Fiji v USA, Australia v Tonga, South Africa v Japan, Samoa v France, New Zealand v Cook Islands, Kenya v Wales, England v Papua New Guinea, Argentina v Scotland, Fiji v Tonga, Australia v USA, France v Japan, Wales v Cook Islands, Scotland v Papua New Guinea, USA v Tonga, South Africa v Samoa, New Zealand v Kenya, England v Argentina, Fiji v Australia.

Eric Odanga

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Additional reporting by HSBC IRB Sevens