Shujaa to start early preparations for Los Angeles tour

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 06:50 | By
Shujaa’s Billy Odhiambo (centre) in a past training session with the team. PD/ SPORTPICHA

Kenya’s sevens national team, Shujaa will have one month to prepare for the upcoming Los Angeles tour in the USA which is set to be held on February 25 and 26.

Shujaa who have been pooled in Pool C for the sixth round of the HSBC series are set to tackle two-time Olympics winners Fiji, HSBC World series defending champions Australia and fast-rising Japan.

In the just concluded leg, Kenya moved one place to 12th in the 2022/2023 World Rugby Sevens Series standings after they lost to Tonga 26-24 in the ninth-place play-off semi-final at Sydney Sevens on Sunday.

In other pools in the upcoming Sydney sevens champions New Zealand will have a go at winning their second tournament this season as they battle Samoa, USA, and Chile. South Africa is pooled together with Ireland, Uruguay, and Canada while Hamilton sevens champion Argentina is placed in Pool D alongside France, Great Britain, and Spain.

Heading to the USA tour, Shujaa will be hoping they will be well-prepared to post positive results that will help them avoid relegation at the end of the season.

According to the HSBC sevens series organisers only 12 teams will be retained for the new season while the 15th-ranked team will be relegated at the penultimate leg in Toulouse, France.

The 12th, 13th, and 14th placed teams will engage in a Challenger in the 11th and final leg in London with the winner staying for the new season.

Shujaa is currently 12th in the HSBC World Sevens series standings with 21 points, 3 points behind Uruguay who are ranked 11th, and 14 points behind 10th-placed Great Britain. The youthful Kenyan side is yet to make any Cup quarter after four legs of the series with the Damian McGrath-coached side staring at a possible relegation.

Kenya went into Sydney Sevens lying 13th in the Series with 16 points, two places into the relegation zone.

Head coach Damian McGrath will be hopeful he will find a perfect replacement for the legendary Collins Injera and Willy Ambaka who called the time of their glittering career that spanned over two decades. The two players have been the backbone of the team that delivered a maiden leg win in the series that was captained by Andrew Amonde who has since retired.

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