NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11- It wasn’t the most perfect of ways to end the season picking up only three points off the ultimate leg of the World Sevens Series in Paris, but it wasn’t enough to remove the glamour off Shujaa’s performance this season.
Shujaa picked up a paltry three points after a slim 21-20 win over Scotland in the 13th place final.
The team narrowly missed out on the Cup Quarters despite 22-19 and 24-10 wins over Fiji and Samoa respectively in the group, having started off with a 24-5 loss against New Zealand.
Innocent Simiyu’s charges broke the 100-point mark in the World Series for the first time ever, finishing the 10 legs with 104 points and eighth overall in the standings.
Apart from that momentous achievement, Shujaa also earned the season’s Fair Play prize from World Rugby and skipper Oscar Ouma was named in the entire circuit’s ultimate dream team.
It was a pre-season target for Shujaa to finish the season above 100 points, beating their previous record of 99 points gathered in the 2012/2013 season under British coach Mike Friday. This, they achieved in the penultimate leg of the season in London.
Of the 10 legs of the season, Shujaa have only failed to get out of the groups on three occasions in Cape Town, London and Paris. They picked three each in Cape Town and Paris and managed eight in London where they won the Challenge Trophy.
Also, for the first time in history, the team managed to get into back to back finals, losing on both occasions in Vancouver and Hong Kong to Fiji. The remaining four times, they were eliminated in the Cup Quarters.
The performance of the team sees head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu prove his doubters wrong as he took the team into new standards with improved performance, something he says was down to a better pre-season.
In his first season in charge, Shujaa finished a dismal 12th with 63 points and they have marked a 40 point improvement coming into the new season. Also, the tactician has exposed a number of young players into the world stage.
Some of the players who have tasted World Series action under Simiyu include Erick Ombasa and Sam Muregi as well as Herman Humwa who went on to prove their mettle.
The season has also seen the resurgence of legend Collins Injera who has been a core figure of the side throughout the season, flourishing in all the roles he has been handed including being drifted to play-making duties away from his preferred wing position.
The team will now shift its attention to the Sevens World Cup to be held in San Francisco, United States in July and they will hope to do better than their fourth place finish during the last edition in Moscow in 2013.
Dubai: Cup Quarters (7th) 10pts
Cape Town: 13th – 3pts
Sydney: Cup Quarters (7th) 10pts
Hamilton: Cup Quarters (6th) 12pts
Las Vegas: Cup Quarters (7th) 10pts
Vancouver: Cup Final (2nd) 19pts
Hong Kong: Cup Final (2nd) 19pts
Singapore: Cup Quarters (7th) 10pts
London: 9th – 8pts
Paris: 13th – 3pts
Season Tally: 104pts