Rugby Rugby

Gallant Shujaa storm into Vancouver semis

Kenya’s Collins Injera offloads against Fiji on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver on 10th March, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11- Skipper Oscar Ouma and Billy ‘the kid’ Odhiambo dotted down as Kenya beat Vancouver Sevens defending champions England for the first time since 2011 to qualify for their maiden Main Cup semi-finals this season.

Shujaa had a brilliant display against the English scoring two tries, one of which was converted as they went on to clinch a 12-0 win which books them a place in the semi finals against former head coach Mike Friday’s United States of America.

Shujaa had to play close to two minutes of the first half with six men after Collins Injera was injured as he went high for the ball at kick off and ultimately, he had to be jogged out under a heavy pack of ice on his ribs and replaced by Eden Agero.

It was a tight opening half with England closed up in defense as Kenya tried to push in to break the deadlock.

Ultimately, the English gave in to the pressure at the stroke of half time when skipper Ouma dotted down under the posts after a sleek flicked pass from Jeff Oluoch following Kenya’s win of the ball from an opponent’s line out.

Heading into the break with a 7-0 score after Sammy Oliech booted home the extras was a good result for the Kenyans.

In the second period it was more or less of the same story of a tightened up game but Shujaa’s precise pressing always caused England into mistakes.

Phil Burgess made a superb try tackling save for England as Oliech breezed away on the left and Burgess managed to catch up with him a few metres off the try line, ensuring he didn’t dot down the ball with the referee requiring a TMO confirmation of the same.

With the clock ticking and head coach Innocent Simiyu needing to manage the game with a small score-line, he threw back Injera in with the man playing in his 75th tournament seemingly having recovered from his earlier injury.

Injera’s experience was key especially in his new playmaking role.

Kenya pressed England in their own 22 and ultimately won a penalty off a futile counter rack from England with Injera spreading the ball wide to stretch down the backline.

On the far right, Odhiambo got the ball and with a man to beat put on the afterburners with try box in sight before going over.