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Kenya has established itself as one of the premier nations in sevens rugby. Kenya excels in the shorter version of the game in large part due to the speed and athleticism of Kenya players.
For many years, Kenya had shown plenty of potential to be a sevens power. Kenyan rugby players are reknown the world over for their flair , pace and sheer athleticism. They often showed flashes of brilliance, scoring spectacular tries, playing crowd pleasing rugby and often pulling off unlikely upsets. But for many years, this potential remained unfulfilled.
If sheer pace, agility and athleticism were the only factors needed to win sevens rugby matches then Kenya would be world champions !!!
This was the assessment of the official website of the 2001 sevens Rugby world cup, created by the IRB.
Injera in the unusual position of scrum half
Yet before Injera, Kenya had produced many talented and fleet footed players whose breathtaking speed and dazzling moves left defenders gasping for breath. There was Oscar Osir, who was always amongst the leading scorers in the IRB sevens series between 2001 and 2007. Before him there was Paul Murunga who scored several crucial tries to help Kenya qualify for the 2001 World cup.
Humphrey Kayange, who happens to be Injera's brother, played a pivotal role in Kenya's rugby campaigns starting in 2007. He effectively uses his 6'6" frame to gather lineouts, and grab up and unders. He has a nose for the try line will take advantage of small gaps in defences to score tries. Gordon Tietjens, the legendary New Zealand tactician described Kayange as one of the best sevens players ever. His play is a cross between past players Dennis Mwanja who was known for his hard running and his ability to shrug off tackles and Felix Ochieng who even with his tall frame was still a heck of a sprinter. The well spoken Kayange is also a rugby ambassador for IRB and played a key role in IRB's bid to get rugby into the Olympics.
The Safari sevens, established in 1996 is Kenya's premier rugby tournament. It draws crowds of over 20,000 each year and could possibly draw more if a larger venue existed.
Kenya Fans at the Safari sevens
The local Kenya sevens circuits draws teams from all over the country and is played in the major towns of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. There are also several provincial sevens tournaments for high schools, culminating in the national schools sevens championships held in March of every year.
The Kenya womens sevens team has also made significant strides in recent years. They have played in a number of tournaments including the Dubai sevens.