Shujaa coach McGrath eyeing Main Cup slot at Los Angeles 7s – The Standard


Kenya rugby sevens head coach Damian McGrath looks on during a training session on July 26, 2022, at the Broadstreet Rugby Football Club pitch in Coventry, United Kingdom. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Kenya Sevens coach Damian McGrath wants his charges to put up an improved performance at the World Rugby Sevens Series when the 2021-2022 season come to an end with the Los Angeles Sevens set to kick off tonight in the United States.

Shujaa who are in Group D alongside England, Samoa and Scotland will kick off with a match against Samoa at 8:26pm East African Time and the English tactician believes Shujaa has what it takes to compete for the top prize.

The coach is confident of a good show tonight after an improved performance at the Commonwealth Games last month in Birmingham where Kenya reached the quarter-finals stage.

“We are in a fairly tough pool in LA, Samoa are the leading team in our group.

“They’ve been playing very well this year and have been training, playing and preparing as a team in Dubai, so they’ll offer a tough assignment for the first game.

“We then play England and Scotland who despite having a young team always have a wide pool of players to choose from, so they’ll offer a different challenge.

“Scotland beat us narrowly in the Commonwealth Games and whist we are not going there expecting to turn everybody over, we are very confident that we can put in some good performances,” McGrath said.

After facing Samoa, Kenya will battle against England at 11:10pm the same day before rounding off the pool games against Scotland at 2:21am the next day.

Shujaa are currently ranked 13th in the global rankings with 38 points ahead of the final leg of the series.

Since the beginning of the year, Kenya has not gone past the quarter-final stage after poor results in Malaga, Seville, Singapore, Vancouver, Toulouse and London.

Shujaa has been reduced to whipping boys who are always bullied and thrashed by teams Kenya predominantly used to dominate.

Kenya has collected only one point in the last three consecutive legs in Vancouver, Toulouse and London.

McGrath made two changes hoping to improve the team with a goal of ending the inconsistencies of results posted by the team.

“We are working on the basics and fundamentals of rugby because it’s the basic errors that has cost the team. I can say we are better now after seven weeks of preparation and we are good to go,” McGrath said.

Jeff Oluoch and Samuel Oliech return to Shujaa squad, replacing Levi Amunga and Herman Humwa who were part of the squad’s last outing – the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens.

Nelson Oyoo will captain the team.

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