The Kenya sevens national team will be looking to put the misery of the Commonwealth games behind them when they line up for the Singapore circuit of the HSBC Sevens World Series this weekend.
The eighth round of the 2017/18 HSBC Sevens World Series heads to Southeast Asia with the likes of Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Canada having little time for recovery, given their participation in the men’s rugby sevens competition at the Gold Coast, during the Commonwealth games.
Kenya will particularly have mixed feelings ahead of their Singapore assignment, seeing as they fell way short of the mark in Australia, despite improving in leaps and bounds in the last two legs of the World Series held in Vancouver and Hong Kong respectively.
Shujaa flagged off their campaign at the games with a 26-10 win over familiar rivals Canada, but sustained an agonizing 40-7 defeat at the hands of defending champions New Zealand.
The pounding by the All Blacks severely ended Kenya’s hopes of a podium finish, as it dented their chances of finishing top of the group, despite a 47-0 drubbing of fellow African side Zambia in the final match of the preliminary round of action.
First half tries by Arthur Owira, Jeff Oluoch, Nelson Oyoo, Billy Odhiambo and Collins Injera coupled with four successful conversions by Eden Agero had Kenya cruising to a 33-0 lead over the Zambians at the break.
Best bookies for Kenya Sevens betting
|#1||Claim a 50% deposit bonus up to the value of USD $250||
||> Review||Bet Now|
|#2||50% matched deposit up to USD $5,000||
||> Review||Bet Now|
Oluoch and Oyoo further added to their tally with a try apiece after the interval, as Agero made no mistakes with the conversions to propel Kenya to an emphatic victory over the Southern African state.
Two wins and a loss in Pool C saw Shujaa finish second to group winners New Zealand, who not only made it to the last four, but eventually went on to clinch gold at the Gold Coast with their fifth Commonwealth title.
Kenya played Australia in the 5th to 8th place play-off, losing 33-5 to the hosts in the 5th place semi-finals and narrowly going down 28-24 to Wales in the 7th place final; outcomes that in the fullness of time saw Shujaa finish a meager eighth on the sevens log.
It was a disappointing campaign for Kenyan athletes in the grand scheme of things at the 21st edition of the Commonwealth games, as the East Africans only managed to win 4 gold medals, 7 silvers and 6 bronze medals compared to the 10 gold, 10 silvers and 5 bronze medals amassed at the 2014 edition in Glasgow.
Focus however quickly shifts to Singapore where Innocent Simiyu’s charges have been placed in an overly competitive group, where they will be pitting their strength against England, USA and France in Pool B.
The United States are the highest rated team in the pool, occupying sixth place with 85 points, having won gold when they hosted the seventh leg in Las Vegas.
Kenya on the other hand is a place behind and two points adrift of the Americans after winning silver medals over the last two legs, while England and France are eighth and tenth on 71 and 46 points respectively.
Kenya may not have it easy given their recent fatigue and injury concerns due to the brutal run of matches, but memories of their historic 30-7 triumph two years ago in the then Main Cup final over mainstay heavyweights Fiji will go a long way in providing the extra lease of life.
SportPesa Quins loose forward Herman Humwa comes in to replace the injured Arthur Owira of KCB in the Shujaa squad. Owira suffered a broken femur bone during the enthralling win over Zambia and had to undergo surgery at the Cold Coast, regrettably ruling him out for the remainder of the season.
Humwa rejoins Shujaa having featured last during the opening rounds of the season in Dubai and Cape Town, while the rest of the squad remains unchanged.
Kenya 7s team for the Singapore tour
Oscar Ouma (Top Fry Nakuru, Captain), Samuel Oliech (Resolution Impala Saracens, Vice Captain), Andrew Amonde (KCB), Eden Agero (SportPesa Quins), Willy Ambaka (SportPesa Quins), Dan Sikuta (Kabras Sugar), Jeff Oluoch (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Nelson Oyoo (Top Fry Nakuru), Herman Humwa (SportPesa Quins), Billy Odhiambo (Stanbic Mwamba), Collins Injera (Stanbic Mwamba), Erick Ombasa (Menengai Oilers) and Samuel Ng’ethe (Menengai Oilers).
Overall Sevens World Series prospects
Leaders South Africa remains the highest rated team in the World Series at -175.44 on Sportsbet.com.au closely followed by Fiji at +150.
The Kenya sevens national team is quite fond of Singapore but their bid for the evasive gold medal will narrow down to how well they kick start their campaign in the preliminary round.
Shujaa will certainly reach the medals bracket should they make it out of the group.
Kenya 7s fixtures
Kenya vs. England: Saturday, April 28, 2018 – 12:52p.m Local time – National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore
Kenya vs. France: Saturday, April 28, 2018 – 4:18p.m Local time – National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore
Kenya vs. USA Saturday, April 28, 2018 – 7:44p.m Local time – National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore
Kenya 7s recent results
England 0-12 Kenya (March 11, 2018)
England 12-12 Kenya (May 13, 2017)
Kenya 14-7 France (March 10, 2018)
Kenya 14-19 France (March 3, 2018)
USA 19-19 Kenya (February 3, 2018)
USA 47-0 Kenya (May 20, 2017)
Spain bans betting on sports featuring junior athletes
NCAAF betting update: Mountaineers odds-on for Sun Belt repeat
NCAA Football betting news: Broncos top Mountain West odds
Central Bank of Kenya suspends services for betting firms
2019 AFCON final betting preview – Senegal vs Algeria
US sports betting update: New Hampshire legalises online gambling
William Hill and Eldorado announce two new Iowa sportsbooks
2019 British Open betting preview – Rory McIlroy odds and tips