NAIROBI, December 14- Shujaa sevens team moved up two places to ninth when a barnstorming run at Cape Town Sevens ended in fourth after two agonising close-shave defeats to Argentina and France in the Main Cup semis and bronze medal clashes.
Following their most impressive outing at the HSBC World Sevens Series since the 2012-13 season, Kenya were seeded top in Pool D for the third leg of the 2016-15 circuit in Wellington, New Zealand that will be played on the weekend of January 30-31.
They will face Australia who beat in the pool stages of the Dubai Sevens opener, Canada who stunned New Zealand in Cape Town and Portugal.
At the second leg of the season down south, Benjamin Ayimba’s boys ripped the form book to shreds when they topped a tough Pool B on Saturday after being held by England 19-19, stunning hosts and eventual champions, South Africa 14-12 before running six unanswered tries against Zimbabwe in a 36-0 mauling.
Ayimba who returned at the helm in the close season then enjoyed doing one over his successor, Mike Friday when Shujaa toppled his rapidly improving USA 26-10 in the Cup quarters.
Collins Injera and Willy Ambaka scored two tries each with Biko Adema adding three conversions as Kenya reached the cup semis.
Two heartbreaking losses then followed; first Kenya were an Adema two-pointer away from forcing extra time against the Los Pumas after a last-gasp Frank Wanyama try brought the tense game to 22-24 but the Total Nondies veteran agonisingly struck the wrong side of the post.
France, who were 11th overall last season, finished third beating Kenya 28-26 with a last-minute try and conversion from Julien Candelon and Terry Bouhraoua while none of the Dubai Sevens Cup semi-finalists made it to the same stage a week later.
Kenya ended the Cape Town Sevens in fourth place, collecting 15 points which moved the side up to ninth on the World Rugby Sevens Series log.
There were individual plaudits for Injera and Ambaka who were selected to the Cape Town Sevens Dream Team for their displays over the two days.
Injera and Oscar Ouma were also highly ranked in the Cape Town Sevens performance tracker. The team arrives in the country Monday evening.