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Kenya rugby sevens target high in World Series to boost Olympic preparations

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

05-05-2016 09:21 BJT

NAIROBI, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba is optimistic his team will hit the 100 point mark at the end of the nine-leg World Rugby Series.

This will help the team sharpen its claws as it gears up for the run at the Rio Olympics, targeting its first medal at the stage.

With two legs remaining, Kenya is No. 7 with 85 points as it heads for the Paris and London legs respectively.

"Our target is to finish the series with the highest number of points. Getting to the 100 mark is possible and that is what I will be looking forward to as we head to Paris and London," Ayimba said here on Wednesday.

The coach has made two changes to the side that clinched the Singapore Sevens, its inaugural Cup victory ever since the team broke into the World Series back in 1999.

Ayimba has called up the Strathmore Leos duo of Billy Odhiambo and Alex Olaba as he named his squad for the last two legs. The duo will replace Alvin Otieno and Samuel Motoric.

Odhiambo was last in action at the Vancouver Sevens while Olaba, who was part of the Kenya U-18 team to the rugby sevens competition at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, returns to the World Series for the first time since the 2014 Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

"We are using these two tournaments to further sharpen our skills with the Rio Olympics in mind," he said.

Commenting on the inclusion of Odhiambo and Olaba, Ayimba said: "Billy has recovered and is well rested after missing out Singapore while we have given Olaba a look in keeping with our policy of squad rotation and exposing our younger players. He is however not new to the set-up, having played three tournaments during the 2014/15 under Paul Treu."

The side departs the country on Sunday and is in Pool A for the Paris Sevens with New Zealand, Portugal and Russia.

Series leaders Fiji are top of the standings with 147 ahead of South Africa with 139 while New Zealand is third with 135. Australia, United States, Argentina follow in fourth to fifth place.

The following is Kenya's squad: Andrew Amonde, Collins Injera, Humphrey Kayange, William Ambaka, Frank Wanyama, Oscar Ayodi, Augustine Lugonzo, Samuel Oliech, Robert Aringo, Billy Odhiambo, Alex Olaba, Nelson Oyoo.

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