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Kenya Sevens beat South Africa, qualify for third consecutive Olympics

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Shujaa celebrate after winning the Africa 7s. PHOTO/KRU
  • Kenya beat South Africa in the Africa 7s final
  • They qualified for the Olympics for the third time
  • South Africa and Uganda will play the repechage

Kenya stunned South Africa 17-12 in Harare, Zimbabwe on Sunday evening to qualify for the Olympic Games for a third consecutive time. Shujaa ran in three tries, one of which was converted to clinch the Africa 7s title, and in the end qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

The grieving Patrick Odongo crossed over twice with John Okoth adding in the third as the Kenyan boys totally outclassed South Africa. The new look Kenya Sevens side, under the leadership of Kevin ‘Bling’ Wambua were elated with the victory and the ticket to the Olympic Games.

“We had a dream, we worked hard to achieve it and I am so happy that we have achieved it. I am so happy for the boys and this is coming big just after we were relegated last season. Grinding like this shows what we can do as a country and we want to go back to the HSBC circuit next season and prove that we can still play at the top level,” Wambua said after the match.

He added; “We showed spirit, resilience and determination and I am really proud of the boys. We had a plan, executed it to the last dot and with a lot of discipline,” said the coach.

Co captain Tony Omondi was equally delighted with the performance and the win.

Means everything to the team 

“This means everything to us. We are rebuilding and we came here with six rookies. This performance is motivation enough to get through to the next stage,” he said.

Odongo, who played the tournament despite losing his mother just before the team travelled to Harare broke the deadlock for Shujaa within just two minutes. Tony Omondi converted as the Kenyan boys ran off with a 7-0 lead.

However, South Africa responded immediately when Angelo Davids ran down for a try after some quick shuffle of legs in midfield created a pocket of space for him to sneak through.

Johan Grobbelaar then added the second try for South Africa, which was converted, after also exploiting the tiniest of space in the Shujaa backline, giving them a 12-7 lead at the break.

But Shujaa came back strong in the second half, the pep talk at the break seemingly having fuelled some fire in them. They levelled matters when Odongo touched down on the left for his second of the afternoon and seventh of the tournament after some patient build up from a scrum, Vincent Onyala offloading the ball for the big man to cross over the chalk.

Simple try for Shujaa 

Another simple and basic play from Shujaa saw them run in the third try of the game, Okoth touching down after the ball was swung to his direction and he evaded last ditch tackles.

While Shujaa qualify for Paris, South Africa and Uganda, who finished third, will play in the repechage tournament.

Shujaa meanwhile dedicated the victory to first timer Odongo, who showed immense courage and bravery to play on despite mourning.

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