Kenya Sevens dream of World Cup glory

Kenya Sevens

Shujaa captain Nelson Oyoo (left) poses with the captains of (from left), South Africa, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Uganda on September 7, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens that kicks off today at Cape Town Stadium.


Photo credit: World Rugby

What you need to know:

  • 24-nation men’s tournament kicks of today in Cape Town
  • Mood confident, says team captain Oyoo but they have the first mission of dealing with tough Tonga today

Kenya Sevens skipper Nelson Oyoo is confident of a good outing by his lads in the Rugby World Cup Sevens that kicks off Friday at the Cape Town Stadium, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Oyoo said that he expects the team to advance deep into the tournament as they build on their momentum after finishing sixth at the Los Angeles Sevens, the last leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series two weeks ago.

Kenya face tough Tonga in the Pre-Round of 16 match from 11.23am (Kenyan time). The winner will advance to the Round of 16 where Argentina awaits.

“We want to take the Cup home. We have played Tonga before and we will prepare accordingly. Every team comes well prepared for it being a knock-out event,” said Oyoo. "We must put away Tonga first."

Their meeting will be a repeat of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Pre-Round of 16 fixture which Shujaa won19-7 to advance to the next round that will be held on Saturday.

Kenya went on to lose 31-26 to Scotland in 2018 to drop to the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals where they lost 24-14 to Ireland to eventually finish 16th out of 24 nations.

“We have done our homework on  Tonga well and hopefully we shall beat them. Argentina awaits the winners and that will be another tough game,” said Kenya Sevens head coach Damian McGrath.

“Certainly not easy matches hence no room for errors.”

McGrath said they always aim to do their best when they take to the field knowing more than 54 million Kenyans are behind them.

“I have a good blend of experienced and youthful players who should put up a good show,” said McGrath. He, however, regretted missing the services of Alvin “Buffa” Otieno, Daniel Taabu and Bush Mwale.

McGrath welcomed the return of former World Rugby Sevens Series highest try scorer Collins Injera, who is set to make his  fourth appearance at the RWC, Jeff Olouch and Samuel Oliech.

Just like 2018, the tournament is featuring 24 teams and will be played on straight knock-out basis.

The top eight seeded teams lead by defending champions New Zealand have been given byes to the Round of 16 with the remaining 16 other teams battling in the preliminaries.

Kenya have played in all the RWC Sevens since their debut in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 2001.

After group eliminations in Mar del Plata and Hong Kong 2005, Kenya rose to the occasion in Dubai 2009 and Moscow 2013, confounding all to reach the Cup semi-finals.

Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, who will feature in the preliminary round,  and top seeded South Africa are Africa’s representatives.

No Africa team has won the Sevens World Cup.

The closest was in 1997 when  South Africa lost in the final to Fiji 24-21.

South Africa reached the semi-finals in 2018.

Kenya is the second, most successful African team after their semi-final exploits in 2009 and 2013.

South Africa will meet the winner between Germany and Chile in the round of 16 while Uganda will face Samoa for a chance to play USA in the Round of 16.

Pre-Round of 16 (Kenyan time)

9:45am Ireland v Portugal

10.07am Canada v Zimbabwe

10.29am Samoa v Uganda

10.51am Scotland v Jamaica

11. 23am Kenya v Tonga

11.45am Wales v South Korea

12.07pm Hong Kong v Uruguay

12.29pm Germany v Chile

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