Kenya’s tall order
Shujaa confront France in the opening encounter at Dubai Sevens in December
Kenya Sevens team will open their Dubai Sevens campaign against France on December 2.
Kenya, who are in Pool “D” will then meet Japan and wind up their preliminary assignments against Australia. France have had the upper hand over Kenya in last season matches with Les Blues winning 2826 in Cape Town, South African 2421 in Vancouver, Canada 24-5 at the Paris Sevens.
Shujaa will have to be at their best to beat the Japanese, who stunned them at the Olympics with a 31-7 drubbing and edged them 19-14 at the Las Vegas Sevens tournament. Kenya got victory against them in Dubai, winning narrowly 17-12.
Against Australia, Kenya lost twice to ‘The Team from Down Under’ losing 14-12 in Dubai and 17-12 in Wellington. Kenya best performance in Dubai came in 2012 and 2009, where they reached the semi-finals.
Olympic gold medal winners and 2015-16 series champions Fiji will begin their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17 men’s campaign against Canada.
Fiji will have a new coaching setup following the departure of Ben Ryan but as the reigning Dubai, series and Olympic champions, they start as firm favourites. The islanders will also play Wales and Argentina in Pool ‘A’ on Day 1 of the men’s season.
Last season’s second-ranked side South Africa, bronze medallists at the Olympics, start against African qualifier Uganda with further matches against last season’s London champions Scotland and the USA.
For the first time in the 17-year history of the series, New Zealand will start the season without long-time coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens. The 12time series winner Tietjens retired after the Olympic Games.