The fall of the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team (2023)

The fall of the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team (1)

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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, 19 April 2016. Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Almond disembarks from a Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner as Humphrey Kayange and his brother Collins Injela hold the Singapore Sevens trophy, William Ambaka waves the flag, cheering.

The team's coach, the late Benjamin Ainba, was seen at the airport greeting the team as a large crowd erupted in celebration.

Kenya Sevens, two-time Rugby World Cup semi-finalists, beat Fiji 30-7 in the final of the Singapore Sevens two days ago to claim their first ever Rugby Sevens World Series champion.

Fast forward to Sunday and it has been seven years since Kenya's heroics in the series, with fans and teams burdened with collective pain and suffering. Kenya Rugby Sevens are relegated from the World Rugby Sevens Series for the first time in 23 years.

Teams must progress through the African Qualifiers and then the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenge Series for a chance to qualify for the 2024/2025 Series.

After beating Canada 24-19 in a four-team play-off at London's Twickenham Stadium last weekend, Kenya lost 12-7 in Sunday's final, with disappointed Kenyan players bursting into tears.

(Video) Struggling Kenya 7s in desperate battle to avoid relegation


  • Kenya away from rugby sevens in Cape Town
  • Kenya is looking forward to the return of the Olympic sevens
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Kenya Rugby Sevens will now miss the World Rugby Sevens Series and have no chance of being invited to some competitions after World Rugby proposed a 12-team format for the 2023/2024 series.

The fall of the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team (4)

Jonathan Lauger (R) of France is knocked out by Kenyan rugby sevens players at an HSBC event in Singapore April 8, 2023. Photo | Roslan Rahman | AFP

The Kenya Rugby Sevens team received their first invitation to the World Rugby Sevens Series in the 2000/2001 season and became a core team in the 2004/2005 season.

Their teams will now have to go through the African Qualifiers and the 2024 Rugby World Series Sevens Challenge to qualify for the 2024/2025 Rugby World Series.

Read (from the archives):Dapper Kenya takes silver in Canadian rugby sevens - PHOTOS

The impact involved

Relegation had an impact. World Rugby does not provide funds to Kenya as this is for the first team only.

Where does the rain start beating the Kenya Sevens?

(Video) Kenya 7s Rugby Relegated - What Went Wrong & Next Steps

Several factors contributed to Kenya's relegation from the series, including infighting in the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), the lack of a viable structure for the national team and local competitions, economic instability and frequent strikes by national team players over wages and salaries. allowance.

The high turnover of national teams coaches, the inability to advance through the national team academy, the lack of smooth transition of players within the team, the collapse of the Safari Sevens and apathy towards the local sevens circuit are other factors.

The KRU board was embroiled in controversies over control of sponsorship funds and conflicts of interest, leading to the resignation of Chairman Mwangi Muthee on 17 December 2014 after four years at the helm.

Muthee had questioned the integrity of some board members and alleged conflicts of interest over the supply of equipment to the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and difficulties in obtaining multi-million shillings worth of airline tickets outside established KRU channels.

His resignation follows the departures of KRU directors Godwin Karuga and Maurice Masiga, as well as Kenya Sevens coach Paul Trew.

Despite the scoreboard controversy, Kenya Sevens reached the semi-finals of the Rugby Sevens World Cup in 2013 and finished fifth in the World Rugby Series in 2012/13 under former coach Mike Best, achieved results under Friday's guidance.

reading:The Olympic Games in Tokyo are behind us, Kenya is at the top of Africa

managerial discussion

When Muthee took over in 2011 after defeating incumbent Richard Omwela in an election, he fired Ayimba and replaced him with his deputy, Mitch Ocholla, after the group's core threatened to abandon its management style.

Muthee later replaced Ocholla with Briton Mike Friday, who retired at the end of 2013 after one season at the helm of Paul Treu. Friday led the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team to their second Rugby World Cup semi-final and the 2013 Wellington Sevens final.

Muthee, who sponsored the Kenya Seven team in 2011, managed to attract sponsorship from Kenya Airways in the two seasons following the withdrawal of Virgin Atlantic, who had played for the team since 2007.

(Video) Canada SECURE Series spot! | Canada v Kenya | HSBC London Sevens Rugby

The fall of the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team (5)

Kenya Airways officials at the unveiling of the sponsorship deal for the national rugby sevens team on November 6, 2009. Photo | Chris Omollo | NMG

With Omwela returning to power following his election in 2015, Safaricom withdrew its sponsorship of the Safari Sevens after Kenyan rugby players went on strike over pay and allowances in July, sparking allegations of corruption and fraud.

Omwela disbanded the Vuyo Zanqwa-led team in August 2015 and although Safaricom reversed its decision to sponsor the Safari Sevens five months later, Felix Ochieng succeeded his team as head coach.

Omwela will reappoint Ayimba as head coach for the 2015/2016 season, with Paul "Pau" Murunga as his second-in-command, after leading the team to a historic victory.

Aimba fell out with the union again after a visit to the capital, where the players received chips from former president Uhuru Kenyatta and deposited the money into their own accounts.

Ayimba will be charged with "selling" the Rio 2016 Olympics venue to some players, apart from receiving money from the players to promote state sign brands, allegations Ayimba denies.

KRU declined to renew his contract after the Rio Olympics and instead replaced him with Innocent Simiyu before the end of 2016.

SportPesa ventured into rugby in 2016 with a five-year KS607 million (US$4.4 million) deal sponsoring all national teams.

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However, SportPesa pulled out of sports sponsorship in Kenya after a lengthy tax dispute with local authorities, with the deal collapsing in 2019. SportPesa only returned last December.

Simiyu's contract expired in 2018, despite leading the Kenya Rugby Sevens team to the 2018 World Rugby Sevens Finals in Canada and Hong Kong. Simiyu chose to "die" for his players after they covered up the sponsor's "Brand Kenya" logo at the 2018 Paris Sevens.

Murunga will replace Simiyu in a turbulent 2018/2019 season that saw Kenya almost relegated to 12th place, two places above relegation.

In March 2019, Omwela stepped down when Oduor Gangla was elected president, who dismissed Murunga and appointed New Zealander Paul Feeney to succeed him, a role he will not relinquish until April 2020.

Simiyu is reappointed but will be replaced in May 2022 by Dimian McGrath from the UK, who will remain in his post.

The high coaching turnover, with 10 coaches in power for more than ten years, undoubtedly caused instability and none of them could realize their dream of establishing a youth academy for the national team.

The biggest problem with the Kenya Sevens team is the lack of the right transition and culture, says legendary former Kenya Sevens fast forward Collins Injela.

The fall of the Kenyan Rugby Sevens team (6)

Legendary Kenyan winger Collins Injela, left, battles Namibia's Cliven Loubser for the ball in the first half during the Africa Cup of Nations rugby final in Aix-en-Provence, south-east France, July 10, 2022. Photo | Christopher Simon | AFP

(Video) Alvin Otieno is IMPOSSIBLE to Stop! | DHL Seven of the best

Injera, disillusioned with the national team due to a lack of fees and allowances, retired from international rugby in January with only a few years left to play for Kenya. The others are William Ambaka and Darwin Mukidza, who retired in March.

Some of Kenya's best players have been forgotten like Eden Agero, Oscar Ouma, Oscar Ayodi.


Who won the sevens rugby tournament? ›

New Zealand

Where did rugby sevens come from? ›

Rugby sevens originated in Melrose, Scotland in the 1880s; the Melrose Sevens tournament is still played annually.

What is the name of New Zealand Sevens team? ›

The All Blacks Sevens winning streak ended on 24 after they were beaten 19-17 by Fiji in the semi-finals of the London Sevens.

Which nation have won the Women's World Rugby Sevens series? ›

New Zealand

What is the biggest rugby 7s tournament in the world? ›

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

What is the biggest rugby sevens tournament? ›

The Hong Kong Sevens is the sport's most prestigious annual rugby sevens event organised as part of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Are USA good at rugby 7s? ›

The U.S. has participated in every Rugby World Cup Sevens since the tournament's inception in 1993. The team's best performance to date has been its sixth-place finish at the 2018 tournament, which was held on home soil.

Why is it called sevens? ›

Rugby sevens is so called because it features teams of seven players. Originally called seven-a-side rugby when it was first played in Melrose, Scotland in 1883, the name has since been abbreviated to rugby sevens, or just sevens.

Why do people wear costumes at rugby sevens? ›

It's rugby 7's tradition to wear costumes or one's "fanciest" outfit to support their country! Painted faces and colorful wig are the norm, but it's strongly encouraged to be creative with your costumes.

What is the most famous New Zealand rugby team? ›

The All Blacks are the first rugby team to win 500 Test matches and have three Rugby World Cups to their name, winning the title in 2011 and 2015, adding to the inaugural Cup they claimed in 1987.

Which national team is known as the All Blacks Sevens '? ›

New Zealand national rugby sevens team
Nickname(s)All Blacks Sevens
EmblemSilver Fern
UnionNew Zealand Rugby Union
Head coachClark Laidlaw
First international
12 more rows

What is the famous New Zealand rugby team? ›

Famed for their unmatched international success, the All Blacks have often been regarded as the most successful sports team in history. The team won the Rugby World Cup in 1987, 2011 and 2015. They were the first country to win the Rugby World Cup 3 times and the first country to retain the Rugby World Cup.

Who are currently the best female rugby team in the world? ›

World Rugby Rankings (women)
Women's World Rugby Rankings v t e
Top 20 rankings as of 15 May 2023
2New Zealand93.19
19 more rows

Where is the next Rugby Sevens? ›

Tour venues
Hong Kong 2022Hong Kong Stadium4–6 November 2022
DubaiThe Sevens Stadium2–3 December 2022
South AfricaCape Town Stadium9–11 December 2022
New ZealandWaikato Stadium21–22 January 2023
7 more rows

What is the meaning of 7s in rugby? ›

Rugby sevens is a form of rugby that uses seven players. Other versions of rugby use 13 or 15 players. It was originally known as seven-a-side rugby. The sport is played on a standard-sized rugby field. Rugby sevens began in Melrose, Scotland, in 1883, but today it is played in dozens of countries.

What is the most prestigious rugby tournament? ›

World Cup. The biggest event on the Rugby sporting calendar is the World Cup of Rugby, held every four years.

What is the oldest rugby tournament in the world? ›

The oldest Rugby Union competition is the United Hospitals Cup, first played in 1875 between teams representing hospitals in England.

Where is the best rugby 7s? ›

Fiji are the dominant team in Rugby Sevens, having won the World Cup three times, despite failing to reach a World Cup Final in the Rugby 15s.

How many times has Fiji won sevens? ›

They are the only country in the world to have won the Sevens Treble (the Olympics, Sevens Series, and World Cup), the three major achievements in Sevens.

Where does the biggest rugby player play? ›

Props: #1 and #3

They are normally the biggest two players on the team and are used for pushing the scrum. Since props are big, they are not the fastest of the players on the field but will use their size, weight, and strength to win the ball on a dead ball set piece called a scrum down.

How many times has rugby 7s been in the Olympics? ›

Rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics was played for the first time at the 2016 Summer Olympics with both men's and women's contests. Rugby sevens was added to the Olympics following the decision of the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen in October 2009.

Where is rugby most popular in the US? ›

On a per-person basis, rugby membership is highest in New England and in the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado and Utah. There are 32,754 men and 11,790 women playing senior-level rugby. Over 34,000 high school athletes (26,212 boys and 8,706 girls) play rugby for their schools or U19 clubs.

Why is rugby not big in USA? ›

Because the universities that played rugby slowly mutated the laws and developed American Football - a game designed for the American system of broadcast television, with plenty of stoppages to show adverts. Rugby is the second or third sport in most countries, it is only the most popular sport in New Zealand.

What is the best rugby team in USA? ›

Tennessee won the 2021 USA Rugby Division I national championship.

Can you kick the ball in rugby sevens? ›

Rugby sevens, like touch, is primarily based on running with the ball and passing. However, in the former game kicking the ball forward is also permitted, which influences the tactics and strategy used in the game.

What does 15s mean in rugby? ›

Fifteens is played with 15 players on each side of the ball who compete for 80-minutes (two 40 minute halves) in individual matches through the year. Rugby fifteens was an Olympic sport in the early 1900s where the U.S. men won gold medals in 1920 and 1924.

Where is rugby invented? ›

Legend has it that in 1823, during a game of school football in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition's goal line.

What do rugby sevens players eat? ›

Eating and drinking during competition
  • 'Protein sports drinks' that include carbohydrates.
  • Flavoured milk tetras.
  • Smoothies.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Dried fruit and nut mix.
  • Simple sandwiches (e.g. cheese and vegemite)

Can you take food into the Rugby Sevens? ›

No food or drink may be brought into the venue and will be confiscated by security at the entrance. All persons and bags will be subject to search when entering the venue and prohibited and dangerous items will be confiscated. Underage drinking is not permitted at the venue.

What do rugby boys wear? ›

A player wears a jersey, shorts and underwear, socks and boots. The sleeve of a jersey must extend at least half-way from the shoulder point to the elbow. 3. Additional items are permitted.

Who is the best All Black player ever? ›

Recent All Blacks legends Dan Carter and Richie McCaw have been ranked equally as the greatest rugby players of all time.

Why are Kiwis so good at rugby? ›

The main reason is that rugby is a full-contact sport and Māori were strong, agile and fast people. They were better than the European settlers because they already had tons of practice and previous experience with a similar game.

What is the best All Blacks team ever? ›

The "Invincibles" of 1924 completed an unbeaten tour of Europe, while Graham Henry's teams of 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 were both clearly the best in the world, too. Lastly, the team from 1996-1997 achieved things that no other All Blacks team has achieved and were clearly the best team in the world during those years.

What is the nickname of Kenya's rugby team? ›

The Kenya national rugby union team is also known as the Simbas (simba is Swahili for 'lion'). Kenya competes in the Africa Cup and is ranked thirty-fourth in the World Rugby Rankings as of January 2023.

Does America have a national rugby team? ›

The United States men's national rugby union team represents the United States in men's international rugby union. Nicknamed the Eagles, it is controlled by USA Rugby, the national governing body for the sport of rugby union in the United States.

What do they call the English rugby team? ›

List of National Team Nicknames (men)
EnglandRed and Whites
EcuadorLos Piqueros
FijiBati (The Warriors) or Flying Fijians
95 more rows

Are the New Zealand All Blacks the best rugby team? ›

It is the official sport of the country, with the All Blacks consistently being one of the top ranked national teams in the world. The game was first played in New Zealand in 1870, with the semi-professional ITM Cup competition feeding players into the professional Super Rugby franchises.

Who is the most famous New Zealander? ›

The most famous New Zealanders
  1. Sam Neill. Whether or not you're from New Zealand, there's a good chance you've been impressed by one of Sam Neill's movie performances. ...
  2. Sir Peter Jackson. ...
  3. Melanie Lynskey. ...
  4. Taika Waititi. ...
  5. Dame Jane Campion. ...
  6. Anna Paquin. ...
  7. KJ Apa. ...
  8. Rose McIver.
Mar 5, 2023

Why do the New Zealand rugby team wear black? ›

The New Zealand Native team, comprising mostly Māori players, had also worn black on tour in Great Britain and Australia a few years earlier in 1888-1889. Perhaps it was because black was the easiest colour to get 25 jerseys in – or maybe it was simply because it wouldn't show the dirt after multiple games.

What is number 1 in rugby? ›

Left prop. Wearing the number 1 on the back of his jersey, the left prop is positioned on the left of the three forwards in the front row in a scrum; binding together with the opposing team's forwards, he plays a vital role in the scrum. This position is well-suited to heavy, strongly-built players.

Who is the best female rugby player of all time? ›

15 Best Female Rugby Players Of All Time
  • Emily Scarratt. Emily Scarratt. ...
  • Portia Woodman. Portia Woodman. ...
  • Sarah Bern. Bern plays as a prop for the Bristol Bears club and the England national team. ...
  • Kendra Cocksedge. Kendra Cocksedge. ...
  • Pauline Bourdon. ...
  • Gill Burns. ...
  • Karen Paquin. ...
  • Sophie Spence.
Mar 13, 2023

What is the largest crowd for women's rugby? ›

Twenty years later, in the latest historic occasion for women's rugby, a world record crowd of 58,498 supporters watched England win the Women's Six Nations by defeating France 38-33 in a thrilling finale at Twickenham, the home of English rugby union.

Where can I watch rugby sevens in USA? ›

Rugby Sevens World Series | NBC Sports.

What do you wear to rugby sevens? ›

For the ladies, the perfect jeans, skinny or mom, are always a great look to go for. If you are more of a shorts or bermudas kinda girl, then that is what you should your rugby tee with! As for the gents, a pair of jeans, chinos or even shorts are perfect.

How many countries play rugby sevens? ›

Current season, competition or edition:

The United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and England each host one event. Each tournament has 16 teams – 15 core teams that participate in each tournament and one regional qualifier.

Do rugby sevens players play 15 a side? ›

The main changes can be summarised as follows: 7 players per team on field (instead of 15). Five substitutes, with five interchanges (instead of 8). Seven minute halves (instead of 40-minute halves, in fifteen-a-side).

Are there scrums in rugby sevens? ›

As we mentioned, scrums in rugby 7s involve 3 players from each team. In these scrums, the 3 forwards of one team (two props and a hooker), push against the 3 opposition forwards. The 2 forwards on the outside of the scrum are known as the props. Some people also refer to them as prop forwards.

How much do South African rugby sevens players earn? ›

The average contract for professional South African sevens players in the Blitzboks squad is R630 000. What is this? A small number of marquee players earn up to R1. 1 million per year.

Who won the Hong Kong Sevens 2023? ›

New Zealand women beat Australia in a nailbiter to claim their fifth straight cup title on HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 while NZ Men easily put away crowd favourites Fiji to win their first Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 9 years.

Who won the Hong Kong Sevens this year? ›

Hong Kong Sevens: New Zealand men shock Fiji with early onslaught to win first title in 9 years.

What was the result of the South Africa 7s? ›

South Africa 7s previous match was against Spain 7s in World Rugby Sevens World Series, match ended with result 12 - 5 (Spain 7s won the match).

Did Samoa win the Sevens? ›

Samoa 7s previous match was against New Zealand 7s in World Rugby Sevens World Series, match ended with result 24 - 19 (Samoa 7s won the match). Samoa 7s fixtures tab is showing last 100 rugby matches with statistics and win/lose icons.

Who did China lose Hong Kong to? ›

During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention, an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

Who won rugby sevens 2023? ›

Argentina won their third gold medal of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023, beating Fiji 35-14 in the Cup final at Twickenham on Sunday.

How many times has Fiji won the Rugby Sevens? ›

Fiji has won the World Rugby Sevens Series four times — first in 2005-06, and most recently in 2018-19.
World Rugby Sevens Series.
4th52001-02, 2003–04, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11
3 more rows

How many times has Fiji won the Hong Kong Sevens? ›

But for Hong Kong Sevens fans, Fiji's display, though still awe-inspiring, was unsurprising. The annual Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens has delighted in Fijian flair for about 40 years. The crowd favourites have won 16 tournaments in Hong Kong, including four of the last five, and been finalists 26 times.

How many times has South Africa won the rugby? ›

New Zealand and South Africa are the most successful with three Rugby World Cup titles each, with Australia (two) and England (one) the only other teams to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

Was South Africa expelled from the UN because of apartheid in 1974? ›

November 12, 1974

The General Assembly suspends South Africa from participating in its work, due to international opposition to the policy of apartheid. South Africa was re-admitted to the UN in 1994 following its transition into a democracy.

Who 8 became South Africa's leader after the collapse of apartheid? ›

In April 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president.

Who did all black sevens lose to in the final? ›

New Zealand's All Blacks Sevens missed out on claiming the last HSBC World Sevens title to be staged in Hamilton by millimetres when losing 12-14 to Argentina in Sunday's final. The game ended when exciting young player Roderick Solo was given room down the left flank after the final hooter.

Who were the first winners of the men's Rugby World Cup sevens? ›

The inaugural tournament was held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in 1993, and has been held every four years since. England won the inaugural tournament, defeating Australia 21–17 in the final.

How many times has Tonga beaten Samoa in rugby league? ›

The two sides first met at the 1986 Pacific Cup, where Tonga came out as 34–16 victors. The two sides have faced each other 20 times, Tonga winning twelve times, Samoa winning seven times and on one occasion, their matchup was a draw.
Head to Head.
Head to Head overall
Samoa wins12
Tonga wins7


1. Kenyan POWER! | Kenya v Japan | HSBC France Sevens Rugby
(World Rugby)
2. Play-Off Final 🏉 | Canada v Kenya | HSBC London Sevens Rugby
(World Rugby)
3. HIGHLIGHTS! Kenya stun Fiji to win Singapore Sevens!
(World Rugby)
4. Watch: Kenya 7s forward Kevin Wekesa's bump off send All Blacks 7s star Sam Dickson flying
(Scrummage Africa TV)
5. KENYA 7S v URUGUAY 7S | HSBC Rugby London Sevens 2023
6. Kenya Rugby Union promises to restore 7’s team back to the World Series
(CGTN Africa)


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