Kenya 7s coach Simiyu decries error prone displays
The national rugby sevens team will take stock of their North American tour that culminated in a paltry 13 points as Kenya dropped to 12th in the HSBC World Series standings piling pressure on Head Coach Innocent Simiyu to find a winning formula.
Shujaa returned home on Tuesday night to a lukewarm reception after bowing out of the Challenge Trophy semi-final by losing to Samoa 26-7 at the Vancouver 7s in Canada last Sunday.
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Simiyu admits a cocktail of errors and some questionable calls by the referee bungled their chances to reach the Main Cup quarterfinal in Canada with Kenya failing to climb out of the group phase in each of their last four outings.
“The game can be summed up to errors and that is the nature of the game at that level. That yellow card against England was very costly, we were controlling the game well since we had put a strategy of having a strong finish as compared to other encounters with them.
“The yellow card put us off the mark and we couldn’t recover after that,” Simiyu told Citizen Digital upon the team’s arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday night.
Kenya lost to England by 28-14 in their opening Group A game after the momentum swung against them following William Ambaka’s dismissal for three minutes.
In their match against South Africa, Kenya narrowly lost to the Blitzbokke by 15-5 ending their hopes of a Main Cup quarterfinal appearance since their cameo in Cape Town last December.
Coincidentally, that was Shujaa’s best performance of the season so far but since then, the squad has struggled to detach itself from competing in the Challenge Trophy.
“For us we take the lessons and we hope we can close the game much better,” former Kenya 7s and 15s captain Simiyu who is in charge for his first season said.
During the Las Vegas 7s in the United States, Kenya lost only one game, drew one but won the rest to clinch the Challenge Trophy and eight series points.
Simiyu identified an area the squad will work on when they resume training on Monday for the Hong Kong and Singapore legs of the 2016/17 Series.
“We hope we can close the game much better; we need to improve especially on the kick off,” Simiyu reflected.
The technical bench had set a benchmark of amassing a minimum of 20 points in the fifth and sixth legs of the series that translated to reaching the Cup quarters in Vancouver and Vegas.
“We came with only 13 again, we are seven short again. We need to go back to the drawing board and work on the areas on the areas that need to be improved we need to work on what we are doing well better,” the former Shujaa captain said for the umpteenth time this season.
The team went to North America without a strength and conditioning coach but according to Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Richard Omwela, the crucial technical bench member will be unveiled before the team heads to Asia early next month.
In Hong Kong, Kenya has a favorable pool on paper when they take on series leaders and Vancouver 7s beaten finalists, South Africa, Canada and France.
“We believe we can finish in the top 10 and that will be very good for us. If we perform well in the last four tournaments we even have a higher chance of going further than top 10,” Simiyu said of the team that finished seventh last season.
Shujaa have 40 points with four legs to go having collected 99 last term.