Kenya Sevens international Collins Injera is optimistic they will start the 2018 Sevens World Cup on a high against Tonga on Friday July 20, 2018 in USA.
The innovative tournament format will see an initial knock-out qualifier featuring the nations ranked ninth to 24th, while the top eight seeds progress automatically to the round of 16.
Kenya will play Tonga in the knock-out qualifier as Injera says the format is challenging but he likes it.
"It's quite challenging for the teams, I think for us we have to start from the bottom but personally I think it's a good thing because it helps you prepare for the other games. We start with Tonga and if we win then we meet Scotland so I think it's very good for us in building momentum going on to the latter stages of the tournament," he told Raga House on the sidelines of team naming for the Simbas team to play Uganda last week.
While Kenya 7s has enjoyed success at the HSBC World Sevens Series, Tonga is not a core-team going to the World Cup as the least ranked team at 24th.
"Yes they are not a core team so it's hard to get their videos and analyse them but for us we will stick to our structures am sure we will get out with a win. They have been a very strong side very physical as well so going to that game we just have to settle faster and execute our plays much quicker so that we get the win."
New Zealand 7s named their team to the World Cup on Tuesday with Kenya Sevens set to follow this week before leaving on Sunday July 15.
"At the moment we are preparing well, we are on course we just have to keep focusing on the task ahead. Definitely adding the teams from 16 to 24 it's always a challenge but the more we play the more confident we get," concluded Injera.
In the previous Sevens World Cup held in Moscow, Russia, Kenya 7s was finished fourth. They had lost 12-5 to England in Cup semis before falling 29-5 to Fiji in third place playoff. On their way to semis, Kenya beat France 24-19 in quarters and bagged three pool matches(17-12 Samoa, 31-5 Zimbabwe, Philippines 45-5).
In the men’s competition, the eight quarter-finalists from RWC Sevens 2013 and 2018 hosts USA qualified automatically and were joined by the four highest ranked teams outside of these nations on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17. The remaining 11 teams successfully negotiated the regional qualification process.
The top 14 seeds are ranked according to points accrued on the 2016-17 series and first seven rounds of 2018 in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Hamilton, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Hong Kong.
The remaining 10 teams are ranked according to their placing in last weekend's World Series qualifier in Hong Kong with Tonga seeded 24th having not taken part in that event.
The innovative tournament format will see an initial knock-out qualifier featuring the nations ranked ninth to 24th, while the top eight seeds progress automatically to the round of 16