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Shujaa fire blanks on opening leg of World Sevens Series

Shujaa at the Hong Kong Sevens. PHOTO/KRU
  • Shujaa lost all their five matches in Hong Kong
  • They picked up only one point and are bottom of the table
  • The next legs are in Dubai and Cape Town

Shujaa kicked off their World Rugby Sevens Series campaign on a sour note, losing all their matches in Hong Kong this weekend and picked up only one point, dropping to the bottom of the elite side in the standings.

Damian McGrath’s charges had a difficult outing and now have a lot on their plates ahead of the next two rounds in Cape Town and Dubai next month.

The team ended their campaign with a 10-7 defeat to Uruguay in the 13th place final, having dropped off the Challenge Trophy.

In the Uruguay semi where Shujaa sought to bring in some silver lining to their dark weekend, the Kenyan boys had a good start with Kevin Wekesa going over while Anthony Omondi converted after just two minutes of play.

All seemed to be going to plan, but a lapse in concentration saw the South Americans score two uncoverted tries via Mateo Vinals and Bautista Basso. Shujaa failed to land a response despite needing just one tie to turn the game on its head.

Suffer crushing defeat to New Zealand

Shujaa vs New Zealand. PHOTO/KRU

Earlier on, they had suffered a crushing 43-0 defeat at the hands of New Zealand’s All Blacks in the quarter finals of the Challenge Trophy.

Dylan Collier had dotted down a hattrick for the All Blacks with Moses Leo, Sam Dickson, Sione Molia and Kurt Baker adding one each. Baker converted three tries while Akulla Rokolisoa sliced the posts in another for the huge win for the New Zealanders.

Shujaa had finished the group phase of the competition winless after suffering defeats to Ireland, Argentina and Canada.

On the opening day, McGrath’s men suffered a 28-12 loss at the hands of Ireland.

Shujaa had a good start, Billy Odhiambo dotting down the first of his two after extending an arm on the left.

But, Ireland struck back almost immediately after the restart. They swung the ball patiently and they created space on the left with a 4v2 situation, Niall Comerford going over and Mark Roche converting.

They went to the break with a 14-5 lead with the second converted try, taking advantage of Kenya’s error on handling with Jordan Conroy sneaking through the space and dotting down the middle.

Better second half start

In the second half, Kenya were better starters and Odhiambo had the second try after they won a scrum a few metres from the try box.

Anthony Omondi added the twos to reduce the game to a two-point contest.

Shujaa’s hopes of a comeback were dashed with 1:45 left to play when Conroy picked the ball off midway through the pack and racing down the middle. The twos were in to extend the scores to 21-12.

Jack Lelly then sealed the victory with a converted try after the buzzer had gone.

On day two, Shujaa were in a must win situation but they face tricky ties against Argentina and Canada.

The Kenyan charges lost 26-7 to Argentina before going down 19-14 to Canada in their final match.

Vincent Onyala’s early converted try was not enough as they fell to a 7-26 loss to the Argentines.

Onyala dummied and beat his defenders with Tony Omondi scoring under the posts for a 7-0 lead but the Argentines scored three tries and two conversions to take a 19-7 lead into the break, taking advantage of the yellow card to Willy Ambaka for a late tackle.

A fourth try and conversion for the Argentines after the restart gave them the result and knocked Shujaa out of Cup contention with a game to spare.

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