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Kenya looks to build momentum in Las Vegas

It’s all about revenge as Kenya Sevens launch their USA Sevens campaign in Las Vegas against Canada on Saturday morning at 4:50am before meeting Argentina at 7:46am.

The team that is currently placed 12th in the IRB World Rugby Sevens Series standing will then wrap up their Pool B fixtures against England on Sunday morning at 12:30am.

Las Vegas won’t be easy keeping in mind that the team has lost to all their pool opponents this season with their 7-31 defeat to Argentina being the latest at the Pool stage in Wellington.

However, they should find inspirations from Wellington Sevens where they reached their first ever Cup quarterfinals under their new head coach Felix Ochieng.

Kenya have succumbed to Canada thrice this season (7-40 and 12-19) in the Shield finals in Gold Coast and Dubai respectively and 5-24 in the Bowl final at Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.

They lost to England 0-38 the last time they met at Dubai Sevens pool stage.

“Wellington was marked by remarkable improvement and that is why the team sailed through to the Cup quarters for the first time this season,” said former Kenya Seven skipper Humphrey Kayange, who has joined the team in the USA just to inspire them.

“We need to pick the positives from the match and work on areas of weaknesses.”

INJERA MISSING

Kayange, who is recovering from a leg surgery, said it’s for the coach and the players to know where to refine ahead of Las Vegas.

Kenya collected 10 points to climb two places up to 12th place in the series standings with 21 points as they battle for a top 10 placing to avoid relegation next season.

The team will be without Mwamba’s Collins Injera, who has been replaced by Denis Muhanji of Kenya Harlequin. Muhanji last played for Kenya Sevens at Dubai and Nelson Mandela Bays Sevens where he made a return after four years.

Injera is back home after making a return at Wellington Sevens to be by his wife’s side as they expect their second child.

Ochieng said Muhanji comes in at a time they want to maintain balance both technically and tactically without compromising on their deliverables.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and challenge for Muhanji and we believe he can contribute positively to our team goals,” said Ochieng.

New Zealand, who edged out England 27-21 in a thrilling Cup final at Wellington Sevens, will be up against Fiji, Wales and Samoa in Pool A.

Series leaders South Africa have hosts USA, Portugal and Japan in Pool C. Scotland highlights Pool D that includes Australia, France and Brazil.

South Africa, who won in Dubai and Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, leads the Series with 76 points followed by New Zealand (69 points), Fiji (64 points), Australia (58 points) and England (56 points).

Kenya’s fixtures – Saturday:

Kenya v Canada (4:50am), Kenya v Argentina (7:46am)

Sunday: Kenya v England (12:30am)