Innocent Simiyu Credit: Kenya Rugby Union/TW

Kenya Rugby Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu has outlined his objectives ahead of the 2022 Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens event in Kampala City, Uganda.

Simiyu was speaking at a press event after naming his twelve-man Shujaa squad for the event to be held from April 23-24 at Kyadondo Rugby Club.

“The task is to qualify for the (Rugby) World Cup. For us, as much as we want to qualify, we also want to make a statement to Africa as defending champions,” Simiyu said.

Simiyu revealed that the Rugby World Cup is the Shujaa’s key tournament this year and that everything they are doing is in preparation for that event which will be held in Cape Town in September this year.

“We expect the team to hit form around May leading towards the Commonwealth Games, then go down a bit, and expect to hit form towards the World Cup, so we have two peak points this season and that is our key focus this year,” he said.

He further added that he feels confident with the performance of the team heading into this tournament despite his charges falling below the mark in the most recent World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments. Kenya finished ninth with five points in Singapore a fortnight ago before collecting a single point and fifteenth place in Vancouver last weekend.

“It’s been up-down in terms of performance. We are still not yet consistent in terms of performance in the fourteen minutes of the game. (And) I think that is the biggest challenge that we have to tick heading towards [Rugby Africa Sevens], especially in those key moments of the game,” Simiyu said.

Kenya are the current holders of the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens trophy, having won the 2019 event in Johannesburg, South Africa. They beat Uganda, 29-00, in the main cup final.

Their campaign this year begins with a round one encounter with Senegal on Friday morning.

Ernest Akorebirungi is an amateur rugby player and a keen follower of local Ugandan rugby.

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