• Rugby Fans Want More From Kenya 7s team

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  • James Rodwell of England is tackled by Horace Otieno of Kenya in their pool match of the Glasgow Sevens.(Photo:IRB)James Rodwell of England is tackled by Horace Otieno of Kenya in their pool match of the Glasgow Sevens.(Photo:IRB)
May 07, 2012-

Rugby fans have been rating Kenya’s performance in the International Rugby Board HSBC Sevens Series this season.

A win in the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens was received with mixed reactions.

“We should not be playing in the Shield! Get back to the min cup quarter finals and fight it from there,” one fan argued.

In an interview with the IRB, coach Mitch Ocholla admitted that winning against the USA in the Shield final and securing valuable points atoned for the four defeats on day one and the start of day two.

“It is positive because we got Series points,” he said.

But the former Kenya winger admitted Kenya still needed to dig deep before being competitive in London this week. The cold conditions in Glasgow did not make it easier for the Kenyans but Ocholla noted that this did not contribute to their lukewarm performance before fanatic fans.

"It is good to play in different cities and different conditions, absorb the cultures and play in every situation,” Ocholla commented to the IRB.

One of the questions he had to answer was the absence of three key players Collins Injera, Humphrey Kayange and Oscar Ouma.

“We are growing in status. There is a feeling that other teams have marked Kayange and Injera as top players and keeping a good watch on them but I am happy for the younger players coming through because some of them are the future. Kayange and Injera had commitments and we would have loved for to have them here. They are world class players,” he admitted.

What the coach did not say was the the players were available for either Scotland and London.

Asked about Kenya’s plan for London, Ocholla was worried about Kenya’s defence which was exposed in the match against England and also the ability of Kenya to contest in the contact area.

“My biggest worry is our defense and contact area. The defense improved on the second day in Glasgow but this is just a stepping stone of what we can do. Kenya has a lot of talent and we just want everybody to dig deep and make sure that everything comes our side,” he explained.

Kenya has been drawn in Pool A with New Zealand, Argentina and Russia.

After the completion of the last tournament, Kenya is placed 11th with the USA on 39 points. New Zealand, who only need to win the Plate in London lead the series with 150 points. Fiji (139), England (123), South Africa (115) and Samoa (114) complete the top five.

In the meantime, The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced a new strategic partnership to expand and extend its existing relationship with Marriott Hotels & Resorts for the next four years. The alliance sees Marriott Hotels & Resorts become the new title partner of the Marriott London Sevens and an Official Partner of England Rugby.

The Marriott London Sevens will be the ninth and final round of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series. Emirates Airline were the previous sponsors.

“We’re delighted to be expanding our relationship with Marriott Hotels & Resorts for the next four years. It’s an exciting time for rugby in England, with the Marriott London Sevens in May, the 2015 Rugby World Cup and numerous other events in between," said Sophie Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer Rugby Football Union.

Speaking of sponsorship, the Kenya Sevens team, which is sponsored by Kenya Airways faced a predicament in Glasgow while climbing on the podium to claim their prize.

They were handed hats by the sponsors, Emirates Airlines which they did not wear but instead used them to wave to the fans! Sponsorship can be tricky.

Marriott London Sevens draw Pool A: New Zealand, Argentina, Russia, Kenya. Pool B: England, Samoa, France, USA. Pool C: Fiji, Wales, Spain, Zimbabwe. Pool D: Australia, South Africa, Scotland, Portugal. Order of play Fiji v Spain, Wales v Zimbabwe, Australia v Scotland, South Africa v Portugal, New Zealand v Russia, Argentina v Kenya, England v France, Samoa v USA, Fiji v Zimbabwe, Wales v Spain, Australia v Portugal, South Africa v Scotland, New Zealand v Kenya, Argentina v Russia, England v USA, Samoa v France, Spain v Zimbabwe, Scotland v Portugal, Russia v Kenya, France v USA, Fiji v Wales, Australia v South Africa, New Zealand v Argentina, England v Samoa.

Eric Odanga

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Additional reporting by IRB