Kenya are among the big boys now ... just ask Fiji

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am

Once they were cast as giant killers. Not any more. Today Kenya are giants themselves, much to the delight of their captain, Humphrey Kayange.

'Yes, we have broken into the so-called big boys league,' laughs Kayange delightedly. 'We are no more a surprise package, everyone takes us seriously now.'

While the Pot Bellied Pigs - led by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's director of facilities Anson Bailey - did the hokey-pokey and warmed up for the Kowloon International 10s on pitch one at King's Park yesterday, Kenya and fellow-big boys Fiji were going at it hammer and tongs down on pitch three.

Kayange must have savoured the moment, for the last time the two sides met on a pitch, Fiji trooped off after getting their butts whipped 26-7 in the World Cup quarter-final.

But then the jinx struck and Kenya bowed out.

'We have been in the semi-finals three times this season but have failed to go past that. We have a semi-final jinx and we have to work on that and break it,' Kayange said. 'We want to continue from where we let off in Dubai and reach the semi-finals here and then go on and enjoy playing in a final.'

Ever-popular, Kenya will virtually field the same squad that played at the World Cup. With some much-needed R&R, Kenya are looking forward to thrilling the crowds this weekend.

'We took some time off after the World Cup. It has been a long season and very taxing to the players, so it was more rest than work these past few weeks. But we are now ready for Hong Kong,' Kayange said. 'We've been improving step by step. Our World Cup performance was very promising and has motivated the team. We knew we could have done it, but we're now thinking that if we didn't do it there, maybe we can do it here,' Kayange added.

Kenya are in pool F with the United States, Scotland and the West Indies. Last year they had their best finish, reaching the Cup quarter-finals before losing 10-0 to Fiji.

But things have changed in the past 12 months. Kenya are now big boys, too.