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By BS Mulavi
Kenya rugby sevens coach Mike Friday is upset at not getting all the players he wanted for the South Africa leg.
The former English coach had to make do without Oscar Ouma, Collins Injera and Biko Adema who had work and academic commitments.
Friday expressed his disappointment at missing such vital players for the third leg of the International Rugby Board Sevens circuit in Port Elizabeth and said they struggled without the top performers. Kenya have just five points to show their effort in Port Elizabeth.
The team proved that they can start games very strongly but they struggled in the second half of most of their fixtures, which proved that the team is finding it hard to keep their intensity at a high tempo.
This is attributed to the fact that the players who were called to cover up for the absentees were up to the mark. However, substitutes for those new call up were yet not at the same level.
Friday rued lack of experience from the new players and hinted that they can only get better with time. At the moment Kenya will have to struggle with what is at its disposal.
Friday has strongly called for support from employers and schools to release players to take part in national duty.
“It is important for the players to do their country proud. I call on the Kenya Rugby Union to engage the stakeholders for the good of the team and the country,” he said.
Kenya’s next games are in New Zealand and USA in the first two weekends of February and Friday is hoping by then he will have a full house to choose from for optimal performance.
Kenya have been grouped together with on form France, Argentina and Tonga for the New Zealand leg and the side is aiming to be consistent given they are currently sixth with 37 points in the table standings.
In Port Elizabeth, All Blacks outscored France to record an emphatic 47-12 victory in the Cup final and defend the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens.
The tournament’s top try scorer Kurt Baker bagged a hat-trick in the final as Gordon Tietjens’ men rose to the occasion in stunning fashion to win their first Cup title of the season, in doing so extending their lead at the top of the Sevens World Series to 14 points from second-placed France.