James Magayi @magayijim
Kenya Sevens head coach Paul Murunga has hinted at making sweeping changes in the playing unit ahead of the 2018/19 World Rugby Series.
Murunga, who deputised Benjamin Ayimba during the highly-successful but controversial Singapore leg-winning season two years ago, was thrust into the hot seat and is primed for his first season in charge of the team.
“Expect plenty of new faces in my team. There are very many capable players out there ready to perform for the team and I want to give them a chance to represent the country,” he said.
“Having young players ensures there’s a large pool to select from and building for the future is also very crucial,” Murunga added after seeing a young Kenyan squad fall to Zimbabwe in an African contest staged in Monastir, Tunisia last weekend.
His predecessor, Innocent Simiyu, racked up the highest points tally Kenya has ever accumulated in the circuit, leaving Murunga with plenty of expectations in his tenure. ‘Pau’ as he is popularly known, is however, modest in his aspirations and only spoke about the opening legs of the gruelling series.
“The season is fast approaching and we have to be ready no matter the time constraints. We are going to pick a mostly young squad but beef it up with experienced hands to give it a good balance and I believe it will work,” said Murunga.
Murunga will largely select his team from the upcoming Safari Sevens and hopes to be ready before World Rugby Sevens circuit kick-off in Dubai.
“There is no better place to pick a national team than the Safari Sevens and national circuit.
The circuit is behind us but Safari Sevens is approaching and we must be ready to watch what our boys can do and the levels of fitness.”
It remains to be seen which of the senior players who were pivotal in Kenya recording 104 points last season will make way for young blood targeted by Murunga in his selection.
Among the senior players who have graced the national sevens team and still intend to keep playing are Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde and Oscar Ouma.