Glasgow Sevens: No hiding place for Kenya, says Kayange

Africans face a pool of death in the penultimate round of the HSBC Sevens World Series at Scotstoun Stadium

By Gareth Llewellyn

Humphrey Kayange insists there is no hiding place for Kenya at the Glasgow Sevens with South Africa, New Zealand, and Samoa awaiting them on day one at Scotstoun Stadium.

The East African nation have already endured a torrid time on the HSBC Sevens World Series this season, slumping to 13th in the standings with two rounds to go.

With New Zealand, South Africa and Samoa, if you were to choose any pool I don’t think you would want to end up with such a pool.

Humphrey Kayange on the Kenya’s pool of death

After a barrage of criticism back home, the pool of death in Glasgow is the worst possible scenario for Felix Ochieng’s men as they look to find some form at the end of the season.

With New Zealand and South Africa favourites to reach the Cup quarter-finals in Glasgow, Kenya have face a tough test to get much from their visit to Scotland, but their aim is still to be in the top eight this weekend to improve their place in the World Series standings.

“With New Zealand, South Africa and Samoa, if you were to choose any pool I don’t think you would want to end up with such a pool,” Kayange said.

“There’s no hiding place, so we’ve just got to go out and play; go back to what we know what works for us, and see how much we can get out of it.

“We’ll have to play very well from the first game to the last one. At the end of the day, you want to qualify from that pool for the Cup quarter-final because that will give us a few more points to climb up the table.

“It’s focusing on one game at a time, hope we get a win against New Zealand or South Africa and go all in for the last game [against Samoa] and see how the group pans out.

“The other teams still have to play each other, but we just need to make sure we control what we can control.”

Kayange admits that Kenyan rugby is going through another transformation and they are still getting to grips with a change in structures that has so far failed to produce results on the nine-round series.

We’ve had three different coaching models in the last three years and we lost some players in between all that, so we’re still trying to bring it back and build our structures and foundations.

Humphrey Kayange

Two seasons ago, Kenya finished fifth in the World Series, but their demise has seen them slip to seventh last season, while this season has seen them flirt with relegation from the core group of nations.

Despite their lengthy rebuilding process, the Kenyans are planning to end this season with a bang in an attempt to move up the World Series ladder before they turn their attentions to achieving their goal of qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at the African qualifying tournament later this year.

“It’s been very difficult for us this season,” he added.

“When we look at the season as a whole, it hasn’t gone how we wanted to play and what we wanted to achieve this year.

“We’ve been doing a lot on our rebuilding process and it’s taken us a whole season just to get our structures and everyone in place.

“We’re 13th in the table, which is not where we want to be placed at the end of the season, so we’re just going to go out enjoy ourselves, work very hard for each other, and hopefully get some results that could get us closer to the top 10, which would be amazing for us.

“We’ll be looking to finish on a high and take that on through to next year.

“Every year you need to be coming into the series with something different – you can’t have the same plays year in year out.

“We’ve had three different coaching models in the last three years and we lost some players in between all that, so we’re still trying to bring it back and build our structures and foundations.

“It doesn’t make it easy on ourselves, but first of all we’ve got to enjoy ourselves and go out with a bang.”

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