THE third leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series is set to commence this weekend with a big showdown in Sydney.
Kenya will be looking to kick start the New Year on a high after turbulent campaigns in Dubai and Cape Town, with head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu setting his sights on a semi-final appearance.
Shujaa are currently in the bottom half of the table at 11th, a staggering 28 points adrift of New Zealand, which emerged victorious in Cape Town to go to the summit of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings with 41 points.
Kenya, which will be chasing its first Sevens Series crown since clinching a maiden title in Singapore two years ago, have been drawn in Pool B. Simiyu’s warriors will be pitting against Argentina in their opening match, before taking on the French and the Welsh respectively in their group games.
Although Kenya managed to avoid tougher sides, like South Africa, England and Fiji in the pool, the East Africans still have their work cut out.
On paper, Kenya is already at a disadvantage with France three places ahead on 18 points, but stands a better chance against Wales, which is fourth from bottom.
The Sydney leg will see Kenya receive a timely boost with the return of former skipper Andrew Amonde, who has been sidelined since September having undergone surgery to tame a hernia injury. The odds of Amonde reclaiming the armband from Oscar ‘Wheels’ Ouma are slim, given the in-form nature and leadership acumen exhibited by the Nakuru RFC strongman.
Samuel Muregi and Arthur Owira are also set to make the trip down south after an impressive showing in Cape Town, while Oscar Ayodi, Billy Odhiambo and veteran Collins Injera remain sidelined with injuries.
Overall Sevens World Series prospects
Reigning champion South Africa is the highest-rated team in the series, offering +125 on Sportsbet.com.au, while Russia stand the least chance of emerging victorious in Sydney at $501.
Shujaa are at $81 to win the Sydney series and as such, would do best to challenge for bronze as it would neither be overzealous nor earmarked as selling themselves short.
Kenya 7s fixtures
- Kenya vs. Argentina: Friday, January 26, 2018 -7:06pm AEDT – Allianz Stadium, Sydney
- Kenya vs. France: Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 3.25pm AEDT – Allianz Stadium, Sydney
- Kenya vs. Wales: Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 6.36pm AEDT – Allianz Stadium, Sydney
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