• Cardovilis: We are coaching the 7s players not to rely on individuals

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May 11, 2012-

“We are teaching players to be coached and play like a team and not rely on individuals," was an assertion by Charles Cardovillis, the assistant coach of the Kenya seven-a-side team which has been in London since Monday preparing for the last leg of the International Rugby Board HSBC Sevens World Series.

Kenya has been drawn in a tough Pool, A which has New Zealand – who are tipped to retain the diadem – Argentina and Russia.

Commenting on the draw, Cardovillis said: “It is a tough draw as usual but one we like. The players are often motivated to play New Zealand and we have a bit of score to settle with Argentina and Russia.”

In preparation for London, Kenya has not played any friendly matches but focused on the technical aspects, which the coaches felt, were lacking in Glasgow last weekend.

In London, the players have been asked to go back to the basics. There are no changes in the team and Cardovillis assured players who got some knocks in Scotland had fully recovered.

Kenya will come out with their guns blazing at Twickenham when the ninth leg kicks off on Saturday. The technical bench is aware that the team struggles whenever they meet a physical team, which always outmuscles them in the contact areas.

“It boils down to our technique in contact which we are hoping to improve on.” This season, Kenya has blown hot and cold reaching only one main cup quarterfinal and is placed a joint 11th with USA.

Cardovillis, a former Kenya 7s international said the season has been interesting with lots of lessons learned.

“We have loads of talent in Kenya but without proper preparation and support, we will always be inconsistent. We can beat any team on any day with any set of players but we need to be consistent with preparation and ensure the availability of players which has been a big issue.”

Cardovillis noted that one of the players who has been a revelation is William Ambaka.

“He is in great form and starting to make his presence felt.”

He added other players need to play at the top level for a few times before reaching their peak.

Looking down the line, Cardovillis thinks that Salamba and Robert Odhiambo could be the next core players for the Kenya team. they will be in Rome. Cardovillis denied there was friction within the technical bench.

“This is a pressure job and we have a collective responsibility. One of us could make a decision which may affect the team but that is how you learn. What matters is what is done to correct some of the situations. In any sport, there will always be different opinions and at Kenya Sevens, we are not exempt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kenya has been invited to send a team to France later this month. The details are not clear whether the organizers want a combined universities team of an invitational Kenya side.

According to CAR website, Kenya, South Africa and Morocco have confirmed playing at the eighth edition of the “Centrale Sevens on May 23 and 24.

The tournament will be played at the Ecole Centrale de Paris. The 12 teams are: Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, France, Belgium, Euskadi, Oxford, New Zealand, Lebanon, Moldavia, Ukraine and China.

The Kenya team management said they were unaware of the tournament. After the London leg of the IRB HSBC Sevens Series, some players will proceed to Rome for the Roma Sevens.

Eric Odanga

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