Kenya's Sevens stars boycott training over pay dispute

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Kenyan Sevens star Collins Injera and  a host of his squad mates are set to miss the Hamilton and Sydney legs of the World Series over a pay dispute.

The Kenyan rugby union has changed the salary structure and reduced players' pay as it faces  host of financial problems.

The reduction reportedly nearly halves the initial highest wage players would receive from 170,000 Kenyan shillings ($2300 AUD) down to 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($1300 AUD), a move many players have rejected in the 2018-19 season.

As part of that rejection, those players have refused contracts and been boycotting training.

The list includes names such as Injera, the second-highest try scorer in Sevens World Series history, as well as former skipper Andrew Amonde, William “Lomu” Ambaka, Samuel Oliech and Nelson Oyoo.

That group had been with Kenya's XVs team at the back end of 2018 as they vied for Rugby World Cup qualification and have not trained with the Sevens on their return.

Even some players who played in the Dubai and Cape Town legs, including captain Eden Agero, have reportedly changed their minds about the situation since then and been absent from training.

Kenya played out a tight finish against Argentina. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyEven if the dispute is resolved before the Hamilton leg, players would not be guaranteed a spot on tour.

Coach Paul Murunga told Kenyan outlet Capital Sports that his job was simply on training the younger players left in his squad to be ready for the Australia and New Zealand World Series legs.

“That’s now about the union and the players," he said.

"I they get to agree then we will welcome them into the team but as per now as a coach I can only work with the guys coming for training. As times go, the junior players will get better.

"Given a chance they are back, they will have to fight for a position against the youngsters.”

“I am disappointed of course but I have no control over it.

"If they were there and if we started with them it would have been better then we bring in the younger players as we continue. But now we have to manage with the younger players and give them confidence as we go on.”

Kenya's is not the first training boycott in the Sevens world in recent times.

Canada's men refused to attend official training sessions for two months after the Canadian Rugby Union announced plans to introduce a centralised player pool rather than maintaining two separate XVs and Sevens squads.

The Hamilton Sevens kicks off on January 26, while the Sydney 7s runs from Friday February 1-3 2019.