Kenya 7s

Kenya 7s players to watch at Commonwealth Games

Kenya 7s Kevin Wekesa attacks against the Fiji defense on day one of the HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place Stadium on 16 April, 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby
Kenya 7s Kevin Wekesa attacks against the Fiji defense on day one of the HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place Stadium on 16 April, 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Kenya 7s will be in action from Friday to Sunday for the Commonwealth Games matches scheduled for  29 to 31 June 2022 at the Coventry Stadium.

All pool matches will be held on 29 and 30 July with semi-finals, play-offs and medal matches to be played on Sunday, 31 July.

Kenya 7s Head Coach Damian McGrath named a 13-man squad for the competition. The Scrummage Africa takes a look at players who should have a big impact at Coventry Stadium.

Vincent Onyala

He is fresh Kenya Simbas duty and he is set to play for the first time under Coach McGrath.  Onyala whose inclusion in the Shujaa squad for the Commonwealth Games cause mixed reactions among the fans has had impressive stats for the sevens side since making his debut in South Africa under Coach Paul Murunga in Cape Town 7s.

With just two tournaments played this season, he is the second joint leading try scorer with nine tries. In those two tournaments, he is also second on the list of players who have the most tackles for Kenya 7s.

In 2020, he was Shujaa’s leading try scorer with  13 tries, topped the points scoring charts with 65 points, and had the most tackles(36), most carries (66) and most clean breaks (10).

As he heads to Commonwealth which offers a chance to bag gold, the KCB centre will be keen to help the side do well in the tournament.

st Japan on day two of the HSBC Singapore Sevens at Singapore National Stadium on 10 April, 2022 in Kallang, Singapore. Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Kenya 7s Billy Odhiambo scores a try against Japan on day two of the HSBC Singapore Sevens at Singapore National Stadium on 10 April, 2022 in Kallang, Singapore. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Billy Odhiambo

The former Maseno School standout has been with the team for the better part of his senior career, having appeared in 265 games. Only retiring Andrew Amonde has made more Kenya 7s tackles than Odhiambo. Odhiambo has 344 tackles, 99 tries (only Collins Injera with 279, Humphrey Kayange (159), and Willy Ambaka (129) have more tries). Odhiambo has a total of 497 points.

He has the most carries in Kenya 7s history, with 648, and the most breaks in Kenya 7s history, with 135.

This season, he is placed ninth on this season’s overall DHL impact players list. He has 53 tackles, 14 breaks, 23 offloads, and 136 carries for Shujaa.

He has vast experience, having competed in two Olympics, and this will be his third consecutive Commonwealth event.

Editor’s pick:

Bush Mwale

The 2016 Olympian missed the Olympics in 2020 and has finally made the cut for the Commonwealth games.  He was among Toulouse 7s impact players having made six tackles, two line breaks and 22 carries and 10 offloads (the most in the competition).

The man who has had 96 carries, 51 tackles and four tries in this season’s World 7s Series will be keen to help McGrath’s side do well in this competition.

Kevin Wekesa

The youngster who is set to celebrate his 22 birthday in the next 11 days will head to the Commonwealth Games hoping to better his performance. He was handed his Kenya 7s debut in Dubai by Coach Innocent Simiyu who described him as a player with a lot of potential, adding that the technical bench views him as the next Andrew Amonde.

Though he has been used mostly off the bench, the Kabras RFC man has already bagged seven tries in just 18 appearances.  His first try was against Spain in the Seville 7s and since then had impressive performances whenever he starts.

The Commonwealth Games offers an opportunity for him to impress on a bigger stage.

Kenya 7s Pool at the Commonwealth Games. Photo Courtesy/ World Rugby.

Kenya 7s Pool at the Commonwealth Games. Photo Courtesy/ World Rugby.

Willy Ambaka 

He returns to the squad after missing out on several legs. He is one of the most experienced players in the team and the youngsters in the squad will be looking at him to provide leadership and guidance.

Ambaka who has scored 645 points thanks to 129 tries (ranked third overall on all-time Kenya 7s top try scorers) will be hoping for a dream comeback to the team.

Shujaa will be keen to better its performance in the event having failed to reach the semis in 2018.

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