Kenya 7s head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu says if his squad will be fully fit by December Kenya will top pool A of the Dubai 7s, the 2017/2018 HSBC Sevens Series opener.
Kenya is pooled alongside South Africa, Canada and Uganda as Namcos believes the three teams cannot be a challenge if his team prepares well.
“It’s an exciting pool, if you look at Uganda they have players who are playing here and they are playing very well especially Philip Wokorach. It also gives us an opportunity to see them before we get there because we don’t have as much information about Uganda at that level.”
The last time Kenya 7s and Uganda 7s met was in 2016 during the Africa 7s with the latter winning 17-12. Kenya had however fielded their B team.
“The fact they are playing here gives us a chance to analyze them, see what are the threats and weakness. They are the Africa champions so it will be a very good game,” added Namcos.
“Against South Africa, it has always been a close battle between us and them, I think this year we have come to close so many times losing in the last two minutes, by a try or conversion so we just go back to drawing board. We hope we’ll use same plans or more or less improve on them but the fact that we’ll have corrected two parts of our game being skills and conditioning I think we may get better results.”
Kenya and South Africa met in last year’s Sydney Sevens with Boks winning 14-7, while a meeting at Vancouver 7s saw the match end 15-5 in favour of the South Africans.
“For Canada, they play a conservative structured game, we will be very keen to destabilize their game and also play our game. We believe if we prepare well and our guys are match fit by Dubai I don’t think those teams will be a challenge in regards to beating them,” added Namcos.
Namcos adds skills and conditioning were the factors that led to their average performance last season but they have since addressed that.
“Series is quite competitive, if you diagnose our performance you would see there are tournaments we were quite unfortunate like Hong Kong, Singapore, Vegas we only lost one game especially and we didn’t make it to quarters.”
“If you look at it it’s just a try that kept us out of quarters, so how do you now ensure you score more, the key factors that affected us was skills and conditioning but if you look at the game we played a more expansive one as compared to others or previously we created more opportunities so the key thing is how do we close those opportunities,” concluded Namcos.
Kenya will take part in the Assupol 7s in late October ahead of the new season.