Kenya reveal World Cup squad
SEVENS SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu has named the squad that will take part in the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens from July 20-22 in San Francisco.
Kenya’s preparations for the showpiece hit a massive stumbling block after head coach Simiyu was sacked last month.
Simiyu, who led Kenya to two finals in the World Rugby Sevens Series this season, was fired by the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) after he took full responsibility for his players’ publicly protesting against unpaid salaries during the series’ final leg in Paris last month.
Simiyu’s dismissal came in the wake of the decision by the government to withdraw sponsorship for the team.
However, the coach was reinstated a week later after mediation talks between the Kenyan sports minister Rashid Echesa and Kenya Rugby Union.
The team which reached the semifinals of the previous two editions in 2009 (Dubai) and 2013 (Russia) will depart for the USA on Sunday morning where they will compete alongside 23 other men’s teams in a new look, high-stakes knock-out format.
Oscar Ayodi, who is poised to appear at his third Rugby World Cup Sevens, will captain the side.
Speaking after naming the squad, Simiyu said: “We have a very strong squad based on training. The guys have really trained hard and we believe we have selected the best team that can represent the country.
“We’re looking for good performances from the players and hopefully we can get some good results,”
Kenya will play their first game against Tonga on Friday, July 20, with the winner set to take on Scotland in the round of 16.
Commenting on the tournament format, Simiyu, a former Kenya captain said: “It is an interesting format. This being a knockout it means that you have to adapt very first to the chaos in the game because if the game goes it goes and you have to keep winning to stay in it. The first game versus Tonga will be very critical.
“We have to start very well…get our game going…hit our performance standards very early….get the results that we want and proceed from there,”
Kenya Sevens Squad: Oscar Ayodi (Captain), Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, William Ambaka, Samuel Oliech, Nelson Oyoo, Dennis Ombachi, Jeff Oluoch, Brian Tanga, Eden Agero, Herman Humwa, Samuel Ng’ethe