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Shujaa come short in Dubai Sevens opener

A Kenyan fan enjoys action during a past Dubai Sevens tournament. PHOTO/World Rugby/Twitter

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – A knock-on in the rack after the buzzer 30 metres from the try line denied Kenya a chance to pick up a win at the death against South Africa as they lost 17-12 to the Blitzbokke in their opening match at the Dubai Sevens on Thursday evening.

Seabelo Senatla, returning to the South African side after a season in Super Rugby dotted down what would turn out to be the winner just after coming off the bench to take his side 17-12 up.

Kenya led 12-5 at the break, but the South Africans turned over the deficit with two second half tries from Senatla and Rosko Specman to clinch victory.

South Africa went ahead through Ryan Oosthuizen after the ball was spread out into space on the right before he dived over the chalk for a 5-0 lead.

However, Shujaa fought to go ahead when Alvin ‘Buffa’ Otieno’s try was converted by Johnstone Olindi.

Otieno lived up to his name, bombarding down the left wing and taking down four defenders with his powerful right hand before heading down under the posts.

A brilliant well worked out try saw Kenya go to the break with a seven point lead when Vincent Onyala crossed over after racing to a brilliant ball kicked behind the South African defense by Olindi.

But coming in after the break, South Africa fought to get back into the game, Specman taking the tie level with a try under the posts after sneaking through small space with some quick footwork. The conversion went over for a 12-12 score.

Senatla then sealed victory with a try on the right after picking the ball in the rack before finding space and sneaking in despite a late attempt by Nelson Oyoo to tackle him.

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Paul Feeney’s men will now need to win against both England and Spain on the second day of competition on Friday if they are to achieve their target of qualifying for the Main Cup quarters.

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