NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10- Kenya has to beat Japan in their last group B game later on Saturday evening to ensure they progress to the Main Cup quarter finals at the Cape Town Sevens in South Africa after losing to Fiji 28-22 in their second match.
The Olympic champions have progressed to the cup quarters having beaten Japan 33-7 in their first match and will face France who beat Japan 50-7 in their second group match after losing to Kenya in the opener.
Shujaa would have done better against Fiji who started strong and were more efficient in their conversions and tightened their tackles.
“That (missing conversions) is one of the weak areas we have but we will try and work on that and we will get it right. We have done really well and I must congratulate the boys for their effort. If we play in our structure in the remaining matches we can beat any team in the world series,” Shujaa’s Willy Ambaka said after the match.
The Fijians showed their intent early, with Emosi Mulevoro touching down straight from kick off. Ambaka missed in his attempt to pick out the ball mid air with Jasa Veremalua picking up and offloading to Mulevoro who powered straight through the middle to touch down.
Danger-man Samisoni Viriviri stretched the Fijians lead with a touchdown on the left, managing to skip off an attempted challenge from Billy Odhiambo. Osea Kolinisau added in the extras as Kenya slumped to a 14-0 deficit.
Poor tackling once again cost Kenya with Sevuloni Mocenacagi having the easiest of touchdowns when Mulevoro offloaded to him after tripping close to the try line. Kolinisau converted as Fiji stretched to a 21-0 lead.
Kenya though managed to pull some points back before the break with Odhiambo skillfully evading two tackles before showing a clean pair of heels and powering under the posts.
The speedy man, referred to as ‘the kid’ by his mates was gracious enough to offload to Martin Owila who dotted down his first career Sevens Series try. Augustine Lugonzo converted as Kenya drew seven points closer.
Shujaa could have reduced the deficit further at the break but Nelson Oyoo’s try was ruled out by a TMO decision after he was adjudged to have been tackled out of the pitch by Joeli Lutumailagi.
At the start of the second half, Kenya kicked off well with Oyoo touching down on the right after a kick and chase. However, Fiji pulled away to 28-12 when Viriviri won possession in the middle of the pitch and strode to take his side clear.
Cyprian Kuto though took Kenya back to contention after Oyoo’s kick and chase resulted in a penalty for Kenya five metres from the try line, Kuto sneaking the ball away and touching down, but the conversion by Augustine Lugonzo was wide.
Odhiambo then added some late hope for Shujaa with a superb spirited run, touching down on the right but again, the conversion went wide with Kenya narrowing down to 28-22.
With 17 seconds on the clock at the restart, Fiji won possession and chose to kick out at the buzzer with kenya’s pressure showing potential of a match winning try.