Rugby Rugby

Hope for improving Kenya 7s in London


SENTLA-KENYANAIROBI, May 11 –After giving a good account of themselves in a pool of giants last weekend, Kenya 7s have a better chance of making the last eight of the Main Cup at the season ending HSBC World Sevens Series this weekend in London.

Shujaa were placed in arguably the strongest group of the annual series at Glasgow 7s where they fell to titans New Zealand and South Africa before redeeming their pride by beating Samoa in their last Pool B clash against Samoa to drop to the Bowl.

However, the draw for London 7s was kinder to Felix Ochieng’s side with hosts England the only team capable of giving them trouble with Scotland and Brazil completing their pool.

Kenya recorded slight improvement at the penultimate round in Glasgow, collecting five points to leave them three points away from retaining their Core Status.

Despite bowing out at the Bowl semi-final in a 7-24 loss to Argentina, Shujaa remained 13th on 38 points, 20 ahead of relegation threatened Japan.

Shujaa managed two wins in five matches, beating Samoa 29-22 in their last group match to finish third in the pool on five points after going down 7-22 and 5-22 to All Blacks and Blitzbokke before edging out Portugal 12-0 in the Bowl quarter-final .

In their opener against New Zealand managed to score against the 12-time champions for the first time in four matches as Augustine Lugonzo grounded the consolation try.

Against South Africa, Kenya threw away a 5-0 half-time lead, extending their losing run against the Boks to seven this season and once again they will blame themselves for the defeat after losing concentration in the second-half.

Shujaa did well to outdo the South Africans in the first-half with vice captain Collins Injera giving them a perfect start when he went over for his 197 career try, but their opponents returned stronger in the breakdown to deny Ochieng his first win against the Blitzboke.

With Kenya’s hopes of reaching a second Main Cup dashed, they continued their dominance over Samoa with a 29-22 win for their third victory on the trot against the unpredictable pacific islanders.

Shujaa’s speedy wide play format let the Samoans chasing the game despite opening a 5-0 lead as veteran Humphrey Kayange made no mistake to add on Dennis Ombachi and Daniel Sikuta brace of tries.

Having relegated Portugal to the Shield competition, Kenya’s back-line failed to hold on Argentina who broke through four times against Injera’s only try who took his tally to 199 to remain third on all-time top try scorers.

Heading to Twickenham this weekend, Kenya will be looking to finish on a high as they head to the regional Olympic Games qualifiers in a Pool that has England as the main threat since they are chasing the automatic Olympic qualification spot, seventh placed Scotland and underdogs Brazil.