Kenya women team target victory at Hong Kong Rugby Sevens
19 March 2014, 11:43
Nairobi - Kenya Women Sevens team will utilize the dark horse card to assert its authority at the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Series in Hong Kong, China, on March 28-30.
Head coach Kevin Wambua expressed optimism on Tuesday, saying the country will do well when they return to the global scene after debuting this season in Dubai.
IRB is introducing women rugby on the periphery of their men colleagues to improve its stake ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"The team heads into the Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens as a dark horse as nobody knows about us. We have studied our opponents in the pool and will look to exploit their weaknesses," said Wambua on the team's official twitter handle @KenyaLioness.
With the men colleagues struggling to showcase their talent, the women team, Lioness, is optimistic that it will roar its way to the finals and send a message out to its rivals - They are no pushovers.
"Six of the twelve teams on show in Hong Kong have featured in the Women's IRB Sevens World Series this season. We have a quality field in Hong Kong and our expectation at the close of day one is to break into the top eight," said Wambua.
Kenya will however, not expect a smooth ride in Hong Kong, as they have to navigate their way past France and China in Pool C.
They then have to return home immediately and put their focus on ruling the roost at the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) women's Africa Cup Sevens set for April 12 in Machakos, Kenya.
"The girls have been in training for close to eight weeks. The technical bench sat down and reviewed our performances from 2013. We looked at where we are as a team, evaluated our strengths and weakness and drew up a training plan," said Wambua.
"We have been working on our conditioning and improving our skill level. The preparations are going well, the girls have responded positively to the new training regime."
"The CAR Women's Africa Cup Sevens is a very good opportunity for the Lionesses to show what they are capable of doing. It is also an opportunity for the Kenyan public to see the team in action and this will be beneficial in terms of growth and attracting sponsorship. "
"As far as the competitive side of the tournament goes, the Lionesses are going for nothing short of victory. We have grown as individuals and as a team. I know it is a tough task for the girls but they are very capable of achieving overall victory on home soil."
Meanwhile, IRB has already released the men's draw for Hong Kong leg for the non-core member teams, the seventh stop in the nine-leg World Series.
The core teams are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales.
The first of the pools features two of the strongest sides in last year's qualifying tournaments, leading European qualifiers Russia and the highest-ranked African side in the draw, Zimbabwe.
They are joined in Pool E by the first of the two South American qualifiers, Chile, and Barbados, the second-ranked side from the North American and Caribbean region.
Tournament hosts Hong Kong are drawn in Pool F and face matches against the second European side, Italy, African qualifier Tunisia and the second of the Oceania qualifiers, American Samoa.
The other Asian heavyweight in the draw Japan starts top seed in Pool G and faces matches against Cook Islands, Uruguay and the top Caribbean nation, Trinidad & Tobago.