Sat, 21 May 2022

NAIROBI, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Kenya rugby sevens head coach and former international Innocent Simiyu was sacked on Wednesday and replaced by Damian McGrath.

"The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has opted to part ways with Simiyu, head coach of the Kenyan men's national sevens team, Shujaa. Also leaving the Shujaa set up are technical bench members Michael Shamiah and Anthony Muchiri," the KRU said in a statement released here on Wednesday.

The rugby governing body said McGrath will take charge for the next two years leading up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

McGrath boasts close to 30 years of sevens coaching experience, having most recently led Germany to victory at the World Rugby Challenger Series in Chile in 2020.

He previously coached Canada between 2016 and 2019, leading the Canadians to the Main Cup title at the 2017 Singapore Sevens.

Prior to the Canadian job, the Englishman was in charge of the Samoa squad during the 2015-16 season, leading them to the Main Cup title at the 2016 Paris Sevens.

McGrath also coached England at the 2002 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Glasgow, as well as the 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Hong Kong.

"Kevin Wambua, who has been a part of the Shujaa set up, will assist Damian in ensuring a seamless transition while Geoffrey Kimani takes up the Strength and Conditioning coaching role," the KRU added.

Kimani, who is part of the National Olympic Committee-Kenya Elite Performance set up, is no stranger to the Shujaa set up, and returns for a fourth stint, having previously served in the S&C role between 2007 and 2011, 2015-16 and 2017-18.

Simiyu returned to the helm in September 2020, replacing New Zealand's Paul Feeney who left the role by mutual consent, as the KRU announced at the time.

The retired international had been sacked from the same position two years earlier after admitting responsibility for a player's protest at the 2018 Paris Sevens.

Kenya have struggled to replicate the form that made them a household name on the international circuit, reaching a peak when they won the 2016 Singapore Sevens.

Recently, the team was slammed when it lost to neighbors Uganda in the Africa sevens championship semifinals, but recovered to finish third and qualify for the Rugby Sevens World Cup set for South Africa in September.

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