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Shujaa in battle to avoid relegation heading to Toulouse

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  • Shujaa are placed 13th in the World Rugby Sevens Standings
  • They picked just eight points from the Asia Tour
  • They next head to Toulouse, France, for a make or break leg

National rugby sevens team Shujaa head to Toulouse, France, next month for a make-or-break tournament as they look to avoid relegation from the World Series.

Shujaa need to finish above 12th place after the Toulouse leg, which is scheduled for May 12-14, for them to avoid the threat of playing the relegation play off.

However, they need to dig deep as they are 12 points away from 11th spot, currently occupied by Uruguay.

They have been drawn with the South Americans for Toulouse in Group A, where they will also battle with Singapore champions New Zealand and Canada.

A qualification to the Cup quarters ahead of Uruguay will be massive for the boys in their bid to climb to 12th.

For the relegation criteria, the team ranked 15th at the end of the Toulouse leg, currently Japan, will be automatically relegated.

Team ranked in relegation zone 

The teams ranked 12th, 13th and 14th at the end of Toulouse (Currently Spain, Kenya and Canada) will enter a four-team relegation play-off together with the Challenger Series 2023 winners heading into the 11th and final round of the Series in London.

The matches will be played on round robin format and the top two will play a final, with the winner surviving the chop while the other three are relegated.

“We know that we find ourselves in a tricky position and we need to do better. In the last two legs in Hong Kong and Singapore I think we lost because of the small details of the game. The margins were small and unfortunately in sevens rugby, the small details matter,” said Shujaa coach Damian McGrath.

He added; “We have our work cut out and we will go out and strategize to see how best we can get ourselves off the situation we are in.”

Tough outing 

Skipper Nelson Oyoo said as much; “It was a tough outing for us and again, the margins were really small. We will prepare well for France and hopefully we can get ourselves off the relegation zone,” he added.

In Singapore, Shujaa improved from the single point they picked from Hong Kong the previous weekend where they failed to win a single match.

They are still however perched at 13th in the standings with 37 points, 11 behind Spain, who beat them in the ninth place final in Singapore.

Against Spain, Nicolas Nieto and Jaimie Mata’s twin tries, both converted by the latter had given Spain a 14-0 lead, before Alvin ‘Buffa’ Otieno drew one back with his 50th career try for Shujaa.

After the break, Manu Morena’s try converted by Mata and Alejandro Laforgo’s fourth for Spain put them in the steering wheel and not even Edmund Anya’s try two minutes to time could engineer a comeback.

Shujaa lost all their pool matches

Shujaa had dropped to the ninth place play-off after losing all their pool matches. They had gone down 26-19 to France in their Pool C opener before losing narrowly 21-19 to USA in their second match. They were then beaten 33-17 by Uruguay.

They however redeemed themselves in the ninth place play-off when they beat Canada 28-14 in the quarter finals and then thrashing Japan 40-7 in the semis.

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