NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Paul Murunga’s search for his first victory as Kenya head coach dragged on as Shujaa were hit 29-12 by England in their opening pool match at the Cape Town Sevens in South Africa on Saturday afternoon.
Winless from the season-opening Dubai Sevens last weekend, Shujaa came into Cape Town pumped up to win but with one of the best Dubai performers Jeff Oluoch missing due to visa issues, it was always going to be tough.
At one point though, it seemed Shujaa had a surprise in their bags clawing the scores to 12-12, but they could not hold on their end of the rope to the final whistle, the English picking maximum points.
The speedy Dan Norton destroyed the young Kenyan side with his prowess dotting down twice to dampen Kenya’s hopes of a quarter final slot.
Ethan Waddleton opened the scoring dotting down after a quick start to a set piece that found the Kenyan backline napping and the conversion went through to give England a 7-0 lead.
However, Murunga’s men responded with Cyprian Kuto who had been called in to replace Oluoch offloading under the posts after skipper Eden Agero started a set-piece swinging the ball to the right.
But the English ensured they took the lead into halftime when Norton dotted down the first of his three after Kenya lost possession.
Kenya though had a chance to draw level after play dragged for two minutes after the hooter, but Agero knocked on when Kenya was in attack.
Coming through the second half, Murunga had instructed his boys to kick and chase despite the fatigue to try and take advantage of England’s holes in defense and that tact paid off when Mugaisi did just that and landed the ball, though the try had to be confirmed by the TMO.
But Norton slapped in a response in similar fashion as though sarcastic, kicking and chasing the ball behind the Kenyan defense to take England 17-12 up.
The experienced Norton completed his hattrick in superb fashion, his speed and footwork dummying three Kenyan chasers who were left sprawling on the ground ad England went 22-12 up.
Phil Burgess came off the bench to drive the final nail on Kenya’s coffin, dotting down with the smallest of spaces and the conversion going through for a 29-12 final score.