Ashioya boost for Kenya Sevens
Sidney Ashioya returns to the Kenya Sevens team for rounds six and seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Japan.
Ashioya has been out of action for the side since sustaining a hamstring injury at the Dubai Sevens and returns to the team alongside Eden Agero who last featured in the season opener on Australia's Gold Coast before undergoing shoulder surgery.
Billy Odhiambo has also been included, returning to the Kenyan squad for the first time since the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, and Patrice Agunda is also named in the 12-man squad. Collins Injera doesn't feature in the line up.
"We are pooled with New Zealand, France and USA in Hong Kong," said assistant coach Felix Ochieng.
"This is a very difficult pool, there is no hiding place and we are obviously going for maximum points. We however look forward to a competitive pool and will approach one game at a time.
"We have our regulars led by captain Andrew Amonde and Oscar Ouma. We also welcome back Eden who brings back the x-factor to the team. Sidney brings leadership and experience while young Billy comes in to provide that extra edge at wing and center."
Under coach Mike Friday, Kenya are currently sixth in the standings. Their best round was in New Zealand where they lost to England in the Cup final, before a disappointing round five in Las Vegas where they were only able to record one victory in the pool stages before losing in the Shield semi finals.
"Kenyan rugby is fast embracing the rigors of performance sport," said Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Mwangi Muthee.
"High performance is very demanding. The World Series is ruthless and unforgiving and we must uphold the principles of rugby which are discipline, character, self determination, team work, respect, hard work and sacrifice."
The team departs for Hong Kong on 17 March, returning to the country on 2 April.
Kenya Squad for Hong Kong and Japan: Andrew Amonde (Captain), Oscar Ouma, Philip Wamae, Patrice Agunda, Horace Otieno, Michael Wanjala, Sidney Ashioya, Eden Agero, Biko Adema, Willy Ambaka, Dennis Ombachi, Billy Odhiambo
Series qualifying explained: Hong Kong & London
From the end of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, promotion and relegation from core team status comes into effect, with a pre-qualifying competition in Hong Kong (round 6) and a final core team qualifier in London (round 9).
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will feature 28 teams and two competitions: In the first, the 15 current core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, Hong Kong, will compete for the famous Hong Kong title and World Series points. In the second, 12 regional teams - two from each of the six IRB regions - will compete for four places at the core team qualifying final in London.
The Marriott London Sevens will feature 20 teams and two competitions: In the first, the top 12-ranked sides in the HSBC Sevens World Series after round 8, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, will compete for the London title and final World Series points. In the second, the 13th-, 14th- and 15th-ranked core teams after the Glasgow event will compete against the four qualifiers from Hong Kong and Asian champions Hong Kong for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.