NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4- Kenya will face New Zealand Sevens champions Fiji in Group A of the Las Vegas leg of the World Sevens Series in the United States next month after the completion of an exciting fourth leg in Hamilton on Sunday.
Shujaa will also tackle perennial competitors France and Russia as they look to continue their upward trajectory that started in the Sidney Sevens where they picked 10 points.
Shujaa finished sixth in Hamilton and collected an improved 12 points despite losing the fifth place final to a resilient Samoa who laid revenge for a 19-14 loss to the Kenyans in the group face ties.
The Kenyans were punished for glaring handling mistakes and despite an improved second half performance, they couldn’t bridge the gap with the Samoans coached by legendary New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens managed to knick home the win.
Shujaa’s gremlins showed as early as the opening 30 seconds when Samoa broke the deadlock straight from kick off. Sammy Oliech’s attempt to pick the ball failed and Neria FOmai picked up, strolling over the chalk for a 5-0 lead.
Fomai struck once again and To Losefo added a third try for the match both converted, giving the Samoans a healthy 19-0 lead.
A resilient Kenya however managed to squeeze in a try after the hooter had gone, Eden Agero dotting down at the far left after some sustained pressure which bore fruit.
An improved performance from Innocent Simiyu’s charges saw Kenya push further with Arthur Owira and Sam Ng’ethe both dotting down but the conversions went wide.
It was a little push too late as Kenya went down by a four point margin.
The side had started the day on a poor footing, losing 33-12 to Sidney Sevens champions Australia in the Cup quarters, but managed to bounce off with a neat 33-19 win over Scotland in the fifth place semi-final.
With the 12 points picked, Shujaa have climbed one spot up on the World Sevens Series rankings to eighth with 35 points, just one shy of seventh placed United States who collected 10 points after winning the Challenge Trophy.