Shujaa’s Billy Odhiambo is caught by the Ireland defense during Vancouver Sevens. [Courtesy-World Rugby]
Kenya Sevens will kick off the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season with a clash against Ireland at Hong Kong Sevens starting at 10.40 am (Kenyan time) on Friday at the Hong Kong Stadium.
As the series returns to Hong Kong for the first time in three years, Shujaa will be aiming to get the much elusive consistency that saw them finish the 2022 campaign in a disappointing 12th position
The last Hong Kong Sevens was played last in 2018/2019 when Kenya reached the Challenge Trophy semi-finals.
After their opening match, Kenya who are in Group D will confront Argentina and Canada on Saturday at 6.25 am and 9.45 pm respectively as the target remains to reach the Main Cup knockout stages.
In the group, Argentina, who finished fourth in 2022 having been in contention for the title heading into the final tournament in Los Angeles, will face Canada in the second match of the opening day at 11.04 am.
Argentina and Ireland finished above Kenya in fourth and fifth places during the 2021-2022 season.
English tactician Damian McGrath included two debutants in his final 14-man squad for the season; Strathmore Leos’ George Ooro and Dennis Abukuse of Menengai Oilers.
Nelson Oyoo will still captain the side as regulars Willy Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo, Johnstone Olindi, Vincent Onyala, Bush Mwale, Daniel Taabu, and Edmund Anya are retained for the new season.
Others are Herman Humwa of Kenya Harlequin and Kevin Wekesa of Kabras Sugar.
Alvin Otieno who missed the Rugby Sevens World Cup was not included in the squad after he joined Eastman Warriors Rugby Club in Canada.
Meanwhile, in the 2023 campaign, the top four men’s and women’s teams will secure their ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games courtesy of finishing among the best four nations.
Nelson Oyoo (C), Vincent Onyala (V/C), Bush Mwale, Willy Ambaka, Billy Odhiambo, Johnstone Olindi. Daniel Taabu, Edmund Anya, Anthony Omondi, Herman Humwa, Kevin Wekesa, Dennis Abuukuse (debut), George Ooro (debut)
Kenya Sevens Fixtures at Hong Kong Sevens
Friday: Kenya v Ireland-10.40am
Saturday: Kenya v Argentina-6.25am
Saturday: Kenya v Canada-9.45pm