NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Relegation fighting Kenya 7s fell short of their target of reaching a first Cup Quarter-final this season after going down 31-17 in their final Pool B match against France at the penultimate round of the 2018/19 HSBC Sevens World Series in London.
The defeat means Shujaa dropped to the Challenge Trophy after managing to collect only one win in the pool matches where they edged out Samoa 20-21. This is after opening their London 7s campaign with a 24-17 defeat against Fiji.
Kenya will now face Scotland in Sunday’s Challenge Trophy quarters.
In their final pool match, Kenya needed to beat France to earn a ticket to the Cup Quarters and boost their chances of avoiding the chop from the prestigious tour rugby sevens tournament.
However, despite leading 17-14 at the break, an improved Kenya 7s side could not hold on the pressure, seeing them flip in the second half.
Bush Mwale, who is having a fantastic tournament, started and finished the scoring in a highly-entertaining first half.
Captain Jacob Ojee gave Kenya a two-try lead but France came roaring back through Paulin Riva and Jean Pascal Barraque.
Returning for the last half, the French upped their game with Remi Siega who has been one of the stars of Le Blues’ resurgence in the series coming to the fore again with two tries to help them seal a place in the Cup quarter-finals.
-Shujaa brave past Samoa-
Against Samoa, Vincent Onyala was the hero after grounding a hat-trick that gave Kenya hopes of reaching the Cup quarters.
Shujaa had to come from behind to take control of the first half that ended 14-10. A half of two halves in this match saw Samoa jump out in front through Melani Matavao and Tomasi Alosio but Kenya roared back courtesy of Onyala’s double to add on Johnstone Olindi’s two conversions.
The last half was entertaining as Samoa come again at the start of the second half and Laaloi Leilua just stayed in bounds to give them the lead, but with the relegation threat for Shujaa, Onyala sealed a hat-trick and they could be the most crucial three tries of his career.
There was still time for Samoa, though, and Alamanda Motuga touched down to give them a chance to win it with the conversion…. but Laaloi Leilua missed from a great position.