James Magayi @PeopleSports11
Following a torrid outing in Cape Town, South Africa last weekend, Kenya Sevens Rugby team has landed a tough pool in the next World Rugby Sevens Series assignment slated for Sydney, Australia in January.
Kenya will battle it out with second-placed team from Cape Town, Argentina, boogey European opponents France and Wales in Pool B of Sydney leg.
The team collected a paltry three points from Cape Town, a far cry from the 10 they bagged in Dubai a week earlier. Shujaa consequently dropped from seventh to 12th position following the dismal performance in South Africa.
On the Series standings, Kenya is tied with USA on 13 points after two legs, 28 adrift of leaders New Zealand and only nine ahead of fast-rising neighbours Uganda. The team has a host of new faces with Sammy Oliech who only made his debut last season topping the list of Shujaa try scorers and point winners.
Oliech has grounded five tries and nicked a total of 51 points as he is the lead kicker. Closely following Oliech in the try scorers’ list is another greenhorn in World Rugby Sevens Series Brian Tanga who has landed four tries and won 28 points for Shujaa over the two legs. Power pack Dan Sikuta and jet heeled Jeffery Oluoch are joint third in Kenya’s list with four tries each and 28 points won.
Interestingly completing the top five try scorers is Samuel Njenga who made his debut this year. Njanga’s three tries prop him as the fifth top try and points earner for Kenya this season. Statistics are damning for Innocent Simiyu’s team as their win rate stands at a paltry 45 per cent.
Of the 11 games Shujaa has played in the series this year Kenya have won just five and lost the remainder. The season’s highlight so far is reaching Dubai main cup quarter-finals but the great capitulation in Cape Town far outweighs the Dubai performance.
The team has scored 36 tries over the course of 11 games with try rate standing at an average of 3.27 per game and 17 conversions in 11 games. There is positive statistic for the team as eight of their average 12 tackles per game are successful.
This bit of information was glaringly low last season when Simiyu took charge of the team. Shujaa players have committed annoyingly amateurish mistakes and given away games that perhaps could be won by a fully accomplished side.