Kenya got their Sevens challenge to a decidedly more positive start this year at Dubai reaching the Main cup quarter-finals of this year’s tournament and ending up in the plate semifinals just one year after losing all three of their pool matches in last year’s event at Dubai, given that the resiliences Kenya showed in pulling off a come from behind victory against Wales and even in coming close to repeating the antics against top teams Samoa in the group stages , South Africa in the main Cup Quarter-finals, and Argentina in the Plate Semifinals certainly bodes well for the team’s morale and grit ahead of the George Sevens tournament next week where they have been put in what must certainly is the tournaments group of death.
Having come within minutes if not seconds of holding group favourites Samoa to a draw in their opening match of the tournament after rallying from 19-9 down at one stage, Kenya up a notch in the second game and making sure this time against Wales to finish the comeback with a win when they completed a comeback this time from 12-0 down to wrap up a 14-12 win before booking a place in the main cup quarter-final with a 12-7 win over USA, and although they would eventually come unstuck unable to quite pull off comebacks aagainst South Africa in the Quarter-finals of the Main Cup or Argentina in the Semis of the Plate it was all in all better than what Kenya have produced at recent Dubai tournaments and in getting a few points on the chart where they have been rather hard to come by will be of additional satisfaction to the team as they llok to finish higher in the championship than ever before.
After a thrilling World Cup that will surely go down as one of the greatest ever for those of you who support South Africa, England, Argentina, Fiji or just plain love a good upset the attention switches to the new 2007-8 Rugby Sevens season where shock upsets almost certainly as usual will be a way of life.
Having acquired the status of one of a core team last season saw Kenya’s 7s teams reach their finish once again in the top ten with the climax being the quarter-final victory over England in Australia that saw them qualify for their first ever main cup semifinals. However if they are to repeat theri heroics of last year and make more progress in this version of the game thay will have their work cut out for them as the first two tournaments in Dubai and George? see them placed in very competitive groups In Dubai, Kenya face tough South Sea islanders Samoa, Wales, and a potentially very dangerous opponent in the USA in Pool C, but it is in the second event in George where the Africans will surely find the going tough as they face defending World Champions New Zealand, England and Zimbabwe.
With the season opening Dubai event kicking off in late November and the George round later on in December Kenya’s management team have selected a squad that is brimming with the experience of the Simiyu brothers,as well as a host of new talent in Mean Machine forward Wilson K’Opondo, Cyprian Shimenga (Nakuru RFC), George Mbaye (Mwamba) and Samuel Wefwafwa (Impala) as well as Blak Blad wing Lawrence Tesot. Hopefully if they get to show their stuff on the global stage they will be able to make the step up to international sevens rugby and give a few of the regular startrs a run for their money