Kenyan rugby 7s legend is Coral Coast Sevens Ambassador

He came by his record as one of the top scorers in rugby sevens quite accidentally but once he realised it was possible, Kenyan legend Collins Injera kept setting small goals to get him to the top five of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series try scorers standings.

It is quite possibly his biggest message to rugby players, to make small goals and keep working to make them a reality. It is a message that the Nairobi resident will bring to Nadroga in Fiji when he comes in January 2023 for the McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens scheduled for January 12-14.

Injera currently holds the position of second all-time leading try scorer in the World Sevens Series, a feat that still surprises him considering he did not even know what rugby was when he was a teenager at the Vihiga High School in Vihiga, Kenya. He is second only to England’s Dan Norton.

The Fijian with the most points scored is Jerry Tuwai at number 20.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, so long as you dream but once you have your dreams, you must set your goals. But work towards mini goals that will make you ultimately achieve your dream. You must stay true to your dreams by being disciplined and focused on it,” Injera said.

“You’ll be able to achieve anything because although nothing good comes easy, everything comes with a bit of sacrifice, it’s just a matter of what you’re willing to sacrifice. I also want to make it clear to aspiring rugby players to not beat themselves down when things don’t go their way. Don’t ever talk down upon yourself because everybody has a piece of this cake.”

Injera represented Kenya in Rugby Sevens at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which were held in July and August 2021, becoming one of only a handful of players across the globe to have played in both the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

A key player for the Kenyan Sevens squad, Injera debuted with the team at the 2007 Hong Kong Sevens and played in the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens, where Kenya reached the semi-finals. He became the top try scorer for 2008 /2009 IRB Sevens World Series season with 42 tries. He also scored 210 points and finished second behind Ben Gollings, the current Fiji Sevens Coach who was at the time a member of the England team. Injera has also played for the Kenya national rugby union team (15s) at his usual position left wing (number 11), playing at the 2011 World Cup Qualifiers and also represented Kenya at the 2018 Rugby World Cup repechage tournament in France. Injera was nominated for the 2008–09 IRB Sevens Player of the Year award, won the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year.

 As Ambassador of FCC7s, Injera will travel to and stay in Fiji for one week during which he will meet and greet the many Fijian rugby fans who love Kenyan rugby but he will also be part of the McDonald’s Rugby Skills Clinic for aspiring rugby players.

Tournament Director Jay Whyte said the McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens, which was returning in its first post-COVID tournament, would be made bigger and more exciting by Injera’s inclusion.

“All the rugby greats who accept the invitation to be FCC7s brand ambassador are legends in their own right and we work very hard with multiple local partners for months to make their visit possible. It is a great privilege to be able to bring Collins Injera and continue the trend of having a brand ambassador who will inspire. I think we all need and deserve some exciting international rugby and FCC7s 2023 will do that,” Whyte said.

Like other rugby greats before him who have been a part of McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens, Injera will unveil his own plaque on the RugbyTown Walk of Fame.

Sigatoka, referred to in Fiji as a rugby town for the number of rugby union stars who originated from the Nadroga province where the town is located, hosts a strip of public footpath hosting the footprints of inspirational players such as Waisale Serevi, David Campese, Ben Gollings, Viliame Satala, Jonah Lomu, DJ Forbes, Karl Tenana, Lote Tuqiri,George Gregan and Rupeni Caucau. During the three days of sevens action in the McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens competition, Injera will also be engaged in off the field cultural and sporting activities, some of which means he will interact closely with the leadership of some of Fiji’s top teams who must win local competitions to enter the McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.

“Teams who take part in this tournament endure huge challenges to be able to compete in what is the biggest and possibly hardest tournament in the region, so it is very exciting to be able to make it worthwhile for these players to be able to meet and hear the Collins Injera story from the man himself,” Whyte said.

“It is awesome to have the calibre of a player like Collins Injera join us here in Fiji, it’s testament to the high esteem that the McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is viewed by the rugby fraternity.”

Whyte also paid special gratitude to the tournament’s naming rights sponsor McDonald’s Fiji for its continued long-term sponsorship of the Sigatoka tournament and to Fiji Rugby Union whose support has enabled Injera’s first visit to the nation.

McDonalds Fiji Coral Coast Sevens works with the tourism industry and partners quite closely with the Coral Coast Tourism community to ensure Injera like other international rugby visitors before him, will get into the five-star luxury accommodation at Outrigger Resort, enjoy local fun and culture with a Sigatoka River Safari and even sneak in a quick round of golf at Natadola Championship golf.

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