World Rugby Sevens Series second all-time top scorer Collins Injera believes this weekend’s Tusker Safari Sevens in its 23rd edition will offer a perfect training ground for the Kenya Sevens team (Shujaa and Morans) ahead of the busy 2019/2020 season.
Save for reclaiming the title they last won in 2016, Shujaa will be using the tournament to prepare for next month’s (Nov 8-9) Africa Sevens-cum-2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifying tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa and the 2019/2020 World Rugby Sevens Series that kicks off in December with the Dubai Sevens.
Injera is making a return to the Shujaa team alongside Kenya Harlequin’s William Ambaka after staying out the whole of last season due to contractual issues together with other fourteen senior players.
This will be the first assignment for Paul Feeney as Kenya coach since he replaced Paul Murunga in August.
Shujaa, who lost 21-14 to Samurai Select in last year’s final, have been drawn in Group C of this year’s competition alongside South African club Blue Bulls, Russia Academy and Zambia.
Morans will have to navigate through a tough Group A that has former World champions South Africa, Uganda and Burundi. The tournament kicks off today with age-grade and veterans competition at the RFUEA Grounds.
But even with the high expectations for the Kenyan teams, the Mwamba RFC speedster says their key focus is on the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.
“I feel great to be back in the team after being out for one season. We’ve trained well for the last couple of weeks and we are ready for the tournament,” Injera told Standard Sports.
“I’m just working on the conditioning and fitness part because I’ve been playing fifteens and also played in the local Sevens Circuit but that wasn’t good enough. I’m just taking one step at a time.
“Basically, when one goes to a tournament the target is to win it and for us it is a good thing the tournament is happening now as we head into the Olympic Qualifiers and the World Sevens Series.
“The Olympics is our biggest focus. But with the quality of teams that have come for the Safari Sevens, I think it will be a good platform for us to test ourselves,” said Injera.
-Report by Rogers Eshitemi/The Standard