Kenya renew rivalry with South Africa and Uganda in Dubai

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Oct 12, 2017
  • Kenya has been drawn in Pool A which has top seeds and defending Series champions South Africa. (Photo Courtesy)

South Africa and Kenya, the top two African countries in the seven-a-side competition have been grouped together in Pool A for the opening tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Series in Dubai.

Uganda who beat Zimbabwe in the Africa qualifier to book a slot for the Rugby World Cup Sevens completes Pool A, an African derby. Uganda played in the two opening tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town last year. 

Kenya finished 12th in the 2016/17 season under coach Innocent Simiyu.

New Zealand who will begin life without DJ Forbes who has retired have been drawn in Pool D where they face USA, Argentina and Samoa who are coached by Sir. Gordon Tietjens, a former New Zealand coach.  

Already, most of the teams are getting match fit by playing in selected tournaments because the season will have two additional tournaments namely the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco California.

Kenya's preparations was jolted after the Kenya Rugby Union announced the cancellation of the annual Safari Sevens. Uganda were invited to Germany for the inaugural Oktoberfest and played at the Africa qualifiers.

Silicon Valley Sevens

Seven of the teams which will be in Dubai - Samoa, Fiji, USA, Canada, Australia, England and New Zealand - will be playing in the inaugural Silicon Valley Sevens slated for Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California on November 4-5. 

France have on board Ben Ryan who won the Olympic Gold with Fiji when rugby was re-introduced to the Olympics after more than 90 years.

Ryan has been contracted as a consultant for the next 18 months. France played at the Oktoberfest Sevens in Munich, Germany.

In an interview with World Rugby, Ryan recognizes the potential. "I see the potential to be a top four or five team."

He quickly adds that there is no quick fix. "It always takes some time for new coaches to stamp their mark on a team but it certainly all looks positive because there is a desire from everybody in that group to get better and that is what I want to see."

Dubai Sevens draw

Pool A: South Africa, Canada, Kenya, Uganda; Pool B: England, Scotland, France, Spain; Pool C: Fiji, Australia, Wales, Russia; Pool D: New Zealand, USA, Argentina, Samoa.