What you need to know:
- New players in 'Namcos' squad hoping to make the cut are Zeden Marrow, Austin Sikutwa, Kevin Wekesa, Archadius Kwesa, Ben Salem, Richiel Wangila, Collins Shikoli, Earnest Obat and Timothy Okwemba.
- Impressive Alvin “Buffa” Otieno will be the Kenyan to watch in Dubai after a swashbuckling performance last season.
“We have a plan,” is all Kenya Sevens coach Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu could divulge following the announcement of the draws for the opening two legs of the 2021-2022 World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai.
Kenya are in Pool “B of the first leg that is scheduled for November 26-27 at The Sevens stadium.
They will tackle the Eagles of USA (9.16am), Pumas of Argentina (1.30pm) and Leones of Spain (4.02pm) in their group assignments on day one.
Speaking to Nation Sport after World Rugby announced the pools and match schedule for the Series opening event, Simiyu said, “It is a tough pool. Anyone can get out and qualify for the knock-outs.”
He added: “We have a plan on how to play all the teams. It’s just a matter of execution.”
Kenya have met Argentina, USA and Spain several times this year, including at the invitational tournaments in Madrid, Dubai and Los Angeles. Shujaa has had a difficult time escaping loss against Argentina and has registered mixed results against the USA and Spain.
Simiyu’s charges suffered defeats against Argentina during the two warm-up tournaments in Madrid, Spain before the Tokyo 2020 Games. The Africa champions lost in the final in Madrid 21-14 on February 21 and 45-7 on February 27.
Simiyu is expected to unveil his tour party from the 22 players he has in training this Friday. One player definitely out of the tour as Russia-based William Ambaka.
“He is injured. He will be available from next year,” said Simiyu, who guided Shujaa to third place finish at the 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series, and won the Safari Sevens in Nairobi in October.
New players in 'Namcos' squad hoping to make the cut are Zeden Marrow, Austin Sikutwa, Kevin Wekesa, Archadius Kwesa, Ben Salem, Richiel Wangila, Collins Shikoli, Earnest Obat and Timothy Okwemba.
Impressive Alvin “Buffa” Otieno will be the Kenyan to watch in Dubai after a swashbuckling performance last season.
Meanwhile, Argentina have already selected the 14 players that will be at Dubai Sevens.
These are Rodrigo Isgro, Matteo Graziano, German Schulz, Joaquin De La Vega, Tomas Elizalde, Santiago Alvarez, Gaston Revol, Lautaro Velez, Tomas Lizazu, Joaquin Lamas, Luciano Gonzalez, Santiago Vera, Felipe Del Mestre and Marcos Moneta.
Moneta is on the list of World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year. The Pumas are handled by Santiago Gomez Cora whose World Rugby Sevens Series top try scorer’s record of 230 tries was broken by Kenyan Collins Injera during the 2016 London Sevens.
England speedster Dan Norton currently leads the Serie’s all-time top try score with 354, followed by Injera on 279.
Reports from Spain indicate the Leones Sevens, who finished ninth in the Safari Sevens, are currently in residential camp at Valladolid. Spain coach Pablo Feijoo has 24 players at his disposal, 11 who have never featured in the World Series.