NAIROBI, Kenya, September 22 – Against the backdrop of the horrific terrorist attacks at the Westgate Mall that have plunged the country into mourning, the national rugby sevens team, Shujaa, gallantry reclaimed the Safaricom 7s title on Sunday.
The premier local showpiece bore the scars of the horrible atrocities when the invited international side, England Royals took the first flight out on security grounds to flee the country to give Morans, the second national side a bye to the Main Cup semis.
Shujaa reclaimed the title with an emphatic 40-7 win over tournament debutants Autralia Renegades to give the dampened crowd something to cheer amid the gloom that hangs over a nation, with some of the victims of the mall attack set to attend the event.
Billy Odhiambo got the scoreboard ticking on 38 seconds with a try that was converted by Lavin Asego.
Four minutes later Andrew Amonde touched down and Asego booted in for a 14-0 lead midway through the first half, Odhiambo got his second try after creativity by Patrice Agunda with Asego making 21-0 via a conversion.
The last bit of action of the first half was reserved for KCB big man Amonde who cut through the renegades defence to set up his captain Oscar Ouma for a touchdown to give the home side a 26 – 0 lead at the breather.
The second half began with the Renegades making their intentions of coming back felt.
James Turner touched down and Rodney Iona to make 26-7. The try got Kenya back up from laxity with Ouma getting his second try. Eden Agero converted to make it 33-7.
The final nail on the coffin was hammered in by a Phillip Wamae try that was converted by Agero to secure the title keeping it in Kenya for the first time since 2010.
To make it to the finals, Kenya beat Western Province 26-14 while Australia thrashed Morans 28-12.
The latter went on to clinch third position with a 12-0 win over South Africa’s Western Province.
In other results, Grenoble beat Belgium 10-7 to claim the Bowl while Uganda won the jug after whitewashing Homeboyz 33-0 as invitations side CBA Samurai settled for the Plate with a 34-14 victory over Kakamega’s Western Bulls.
KCB overpowered Nakuru 7-0 to lift the Shield. Attention now shifts to the opening 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series showdown, Gold Coast 7s in Australia where Kenya has been pooled in Group A alongside defending champions New Zealand, Tonga and USA.