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Shujaa targets

Kenya Sevens are slated to play warm up games against Fiji and Samoa in readiness for the Wellington Sevens starting this weekend at Westpac Stadium.

The team will use the two matches as a build-up ahead of a tricky Pool ‘A’ games against Argentina, Papua New Guinea and England.

Speaking from Wellington, team manager, Eric Ogweno, said the Fijians and Samoans mirror the physical kind of play we will expect from the pool.

Ogweno observed that the training games will want to the see the team polish up on the weaknesses which were evident in Dubai and Cape Town notably the kickoff reception and on the breakdown.

“The boys have really worked hard on the those areas and we want to see how we match up against the Fijians and Samoans who are very good in that area,” added Ogweno. He said they have told the side to be wary of high tackle rules, introduced by world rugby last month.

Last month, world rugby released tough guidelines on head tackles with the players getting severely reprimanded with either yellow cards or straight red cards.

“We have told the boys to be careful with their tackles. We are encouraging to go lower as we don’t want to put ourselves under pressure by having one or two in the bin. We’re really hard on the boys to avoid the referee taking us out of the game,” added Ogweno. Kenya Sevens have fond memories of Wellington, where they reached the final in 2013, losing to England 24-19 in extra time.

Elsewhere, this year’s Safari Sevens will take place from November 3-5, 2017 in Nairobi.

The decision to amend the dates of the tournament that has in recent years been held in late September is guided by the need to align it to the start of the World Sevens Series, which traditionally kicks off in December, in the process making it attractive to teams wishing to use the tournament as a pre-season build up.

Kenya Rugby Union have at the same time reconstituted the composition of the Test Series/Safari Sevens Committee which will now be chaired by KRU vice chairman Thomas Opiyo. The committee is expected to begin work immediately and key among it’s tasks will be to confirm the final venue for the 2017 Safari Sevens as well reclaiming the profitability and popularity of this tournament that has been played every year since 1996.

The Star 

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