NAIROBI, Kenya, October 12 – The new look Kenya 7s opened their 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series account with two points after falling 40-7 to Canada in the Shield final at the first round in Gold Coast, Australia on Sunday.
Fiji beat fellow Pacific Islanders Samoa 31-24 to win the Main Cup while England thrashed Glasgow Commonwealth champions South Africa 19-0 to finish third.
Defending champions New Zealand claimed the Plate after edging out Argentina 36-21 while USA were Bowl winners, following their 31-15 victory against France.
Michael Wanjala scored the consolation try for Shujaa as Leonard Mugaisi converted for a side that lacked experience against a consistent Canadian team that dominated match with Harry Jones and Sean Duke scoring a brace each.
Jones broke the deadlock before Jake Webster doubled the scores after bustling forward runs but Kenya climbed back into the game when Wanjala dashed wide to close the gap to seven at the interval.
The second half was a one way through against a non-existent Kenyan defence for Jones to touch down his second before converting Duke’s try and climb second in the top scorer points chart on 53 as day one leader Kenyan Augustine Lugunzo faded away.
Shujaa switched off totally allowing Duke and Connor Trainor to seal the victory with further tries and lift the Shield.
To reach the finals, Paul Treu charges bundled out Japan 17-15, with Mugaisi striking first as he converted his own try but Kentaro Kodama responded to reduce the deficit to two.
However, Lomano Lemeki put the Asian team in front, weaving off two Kenyan tacklers and using his power to go over for Japan’s second score.
Kenya returned a strong side with a cracking finish when substitute teenager Alex Olaba grounded his first try of the tournament before Bush Mwale scored a late try to seal the Shield semi-final.
Earlier, Kenya went over three-times to narrowly lose 17-19 to Portugal and be relegated to the Shield.
Mugaisi set the pace after opening his account this season but Lugonzo missed the conversion as Vasco Mendes leveled but Mwale ensured Shujaa head to the break leading after touching down his second in the tournament.
Kenya relaxed in the last half, managing only a try through substitute Michael Wanjala, with Pedro Leal and Nunu Guedes breaking the Kenyans new face heart with their tries and successful conversions.
The IRB Sevens World Series heads to Dubai for the second round on the weekend of December 5 and 6.