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Kenya to face Argentina in Challenge Trophy quarters

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series
Virimi Vakatawa on day one of the HSBC Paris Sevens, round nine of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Photo: Martin Seras Lima

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Kenya’s six-year losing streak against England continued as the two sides played to a 12-12 draw in the final Pool C match in Paris Sevens and see Shujaa relegated to the Challenge Trophy.

Kenya will now face Argentina in the Challenge Trophy quarters on Sunday at 10:22am Kenyan time.

Having lost to hosts France 20-14 in the opening match and beat Spain 26-14 in the second match, Kenya needed to win against England by 21 points to qualify to the Main Cup quarter-finals.

The first half was tight with all sides grounding a try apiece to head to the breather tied 5-5.

England turned defence into attack when Shujaa kicked the ball away but Tom Bowen rescued it for the English and Ruaridh McConnochie went roaring away inexorably to the line to make it first blood to Simon Amor’s men.

With exhaustion catching up with the players, Kenya used the physicality in their side to engage the tired England defence and set Frank Wanyama running at them to level up at the break.

Kenya kept up their spirit backed by the large Kenyan fans who turned at the stadium, but Dan Bibby just made the Innocent Simiyu charges job even harder after Charlie Hayter dragged three defenders wide and picked out Bibby’s expert running line for England try time.

Dennis Ombachi scored outstanding tries to bring matters to level at 12 each. The Shujaa Sevens did well to end England jinx but there was no enough time to clock up points for a Cup quarter-final spot.

Against Spain, Kenya did well to keep the ball for a long spell and forcing their opponents to crack. Shujaa knew exactly when to engage the attacking line for Amonde to land the opening try.

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Kenya scored a big try on the stroke of half-time as they started to make their experience count for Billy ‘The Kid’ Odhiambo to tear over. Following the restart, the strong, quick Ombachi used the right-hand fend to brush off Rafael de Santiago and land a third just before Jaike Carter took it to a five-point game .

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