Injera: Kenya must now step up at Rugby World Cup Sevens
1:08 PM GMT
- Andrew OryadaSpecial to KwesÃ©ESPN Close
Experienced Kenya player Collins Injera says it's time for the team to go a step better and get to the finals of the World Cup Sevens.
The Kenya Shujaa take the field on Friday in the first game against 24th-ranked Tonga at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
"We have reached the semi-finals before at the World Cup and this year we are determined to go a step better. It is going to call for hard work because it is also the first time we are playing the new knockout format from the first game," said Injera, who made his Kenya debut in 2009 in Dubai.
"The confidence levels are high, but we must make sure we play well as a team going forward and defending. We shall not underrate Tonga, whom we have played several times before. This is a World Cup and every game counts," added Injera.
Th e 32-year-old is also the first Kenya player to be named for three successive World Cup tournaments. With 271 tries (27 in the last campaign), Injera will be one of the Kenya players to watch together with Andrew Amonde, Willy Ambaka and skipper Oscar Ayodi.
Kenya also recorded their best points-finish for a series in 2018. While they have reached two RWC Sevens semi-finals, and sharing third place in 2009, their conversion rate on the series amounts to just one Cup success at the Singapore Sevens in 2016. Twice this season they have come close to collecting another trophy - reaching back-to-back finals in Hong Kong and Vancouver - only to come up short against Fiji.
"We are going all out to raise the Kenyan flag high. We are expecting a very tough World Cup because it is a new format. There is nothing really new because we know most of these teams, but this is the World Cup and execution will be paramount," said head coach Innocent Simiyu, who was reinstated a fter being sacked a few weeks ago.
"We have a very strong squad based on the training. The guys have really trained hard and we believe we shall put up good performances. The first game against Tonga will be very critical," added Simiyu.
Victory for Kenya will have them qualify for the Round of 16, where they would face Scotland.
African giants South Africa are also in the Round of 16 waiting to battle the winner between Ireland and Chile.
Other Africa nations are Zimbabwe, who will be up against Wales, and Uganda RugbyCranes, taking on Samoa in their World Cup debut.Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya