Weekend Rugby: Shujaa struggle again as KCB win season opening National 7s circuit

Coach Damian McGrath
  • Shujaa won only one match at the Toulouse leg of the World Sevens Series
  • This was new coach Damian McGrath’s first match in charge
  • KCB beat Strathmore to lift the Kabeberi 7s title

Kenya picked only one point from their France Sevens campaign in Toulouse this weekend, as new coach Damian McGrath came face to face with the amount of work he has to do to take the team back to the top.

Shujaa won only one match, their last Pool game against Wales, and lost four of the other five.

The Kenyan boys, with McGrath taking charge of his very first tournament went down to Fiji 29-5 in their first match of the tournament. They were totally dominated by the Fijians who dotted down five tries, two of which were converted while Kenya’s sole try was through Billy Odhiambo.

The team’s Main Cup hopes were dashed after losing their second pool match 38-14 to France, in a game where they led 14-12 at Half Time. Shujaa didn’t manage to dot down a single try in the second half as France completed the comeback.

Nelson Oyoo and Alvin Otieno had crossed over for Shujaa with Anthony Omondi slicing the posts for both conversions.

Joachim Troubal dotted down a hattrick of tries for France with Jordan Sepho going down twice and Aron Grandidier dotting down once each, with four of those tries converted.

Shujaa however made amends after beating Wales 19-14 in the final group match to salvage some pride. Odhiambo dotted down his second try of the weekend to add on to Herman Humwa’s opener, with Omondi converting both.

Shujaa during a training session in Dubai

With one win in the pools, Kenya dropped to the ninth place quarter final on Day two, and they couldn’t sustain the tempo that concluded the first day as they suffered a 26-14 defeat at the hands of Scotland.

Humwa and Bush Mwale dotted down Kenya’s tries, both converted by Omondi in a game that they again led 14-7 at halftime but couldn’t sustain second half pressure from the Scots.

With the defeat, they dropped further to the 13th place semi-final against Japan and once again, they couldn’t complete the job as they suffered a 28-12 defeat. Mwale and debutant Salem Adoyo dotted down in either half with Omondi converting once.

The team will now switch attention to the London leg of the Series where McGrath hopes he can fix some of the problems he picked out in his very first outing with the team.

With the poor performance in France, Shujaa dropped from 10th in the standings to 12th.

Meanwhile in South Africa, National 15s team Kenya Simbas lost another match in the Currie Cup after going down 45-33 against the Bolland Cavaliers.

Kenya dotted down five tries through Andrew Matoka, Derrick Ashihundu, Eugene Sifuna, Beldad Ogeta and Thomas Okeyo with two of those converted by Matoka and Geoffrey Ominde.

The Simbas are using the Curriue Cup matches as build up towards the World Cup qualifiers which will be staged in Paris, France next month.

Back home locally, KCB started off the defense of their National Sevens Circuit on the right footing after edging out Strathmore Leos to clinch the season opening Kabeberi Sevens at the RFUEA Grounds.

KCB celebrate after winning the Kabeberi Sevens

Dennis Mwanja’s charges got into the final on the right gear and led 12-0 at the break. Bob Muhati went over the chalk for the opening try with Levi Amunga adding the extras to give the bankers a 7-0 lead.

They were on course once again when Jacob Ojee crossed over for the second try, with the conversion sailing wide.

Strathmore came back with more hunger in the second half with Brunson Madigu pulling a try back. Joseph Ayiro also crossed over as they went to within two points but at the end, it was the lack of conversions for both tries that haunted their aim for a maiden series win.

Meanwhile, menengai Oilers claimed third place with a 26-5 win over Homeboyz. Hosting team Mwamba RFC won the fifth place trophy after beating Masinde Muliro University 24-5 while Kenya Harlequin won the Challenge Trophy after edging out Kenyatta University side BlakBlad 7-0.

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