Shujaa finish 12th in World Cup Rugby Sevens
Kenya Sevens national rugby team finished 12th in the 24-team Rugby World Cup Sevens (RWC7s) competition hosted at the Cape Town stadium in South Africa after a narrow 26-19 loss to USA.
Shujaa entered the 11th place playoff match confident and as the favourites owing to their previous meeting on away soil during the 2022 Las Vegas Sevens last month.
During the meet, Kenya pinned the Eagles 21-14 win.
That was not the case yesterday as Kenya exited the RWC7s positioned 12th, though an improvement from the 2018 edition where the team finished 16th under the tutelage of former coach Innocent Simiyu.
It was a hurtful feeling for Kenya who closed the day without a win. Shujaa won two out of the five fixtures despite kicking off their final match against USA on the right tempo to go to the break having tied 7-7.
The returning period saw the Eagles secure three crucial tries courtesy of a decisive brace by scoring Machine Perry Baker who ensured former Shujaa and current USA coach Mike Friday had the last laugh.
Coach Mike Friday entered the history books in 2013 when he ensured Kenya returned to the RWC7s semifinals for a 4th place finish.
Fortunately for USA, England had earlier on exposed Kenya’s second-half fight after the tough semifinals where Kenya lost to England by 36-0 after trailing the match 12-0 at halftime.
Kenya scored the opening try in the first minute when Vincent Onyala used good vision to pick up the ball from a ruck and race to the try box where Sammy Oliech converted to go 7-0 ahead.
A minute later Kenya had a realistic chance of stretching the lead by converting a five-metre line out in the Eagles’ territory.
However, a bad throw gave the opponents the advantage they needed to equalise through Lucas Lacamp.
The returning period was just as nervy as the first half and Kenya was once again the first team to score, this time through captain Nelson Oyoo.
Americans who were still in the fight retaliated with three tries in a row; the last two were scored by Perry Baker while Kenya scored their final and third try of the match during the extra time through Jeff Oluoch.
For the chance to meet England at the quarter-final stage, Shujaa was forced to shock Scotland 24-5 to revive hope for a better finish compared to the previous edition hosted in San Francisco.
Kenya had kicked off their match against Scotland on the right mode as the boys went to the break with a precious 17-0 lead and returned to seal the win with one more try while their opponents managed to salvage one converted try.
Herman Humwa, Billy Odhiambo, Vincent Onyala and Nelson Oyoo were the try scorers during the quarter-final match to bring the hope of ending the defeat streak to England but that was not the case as the opponents claimed a rare 36-0 flawless victory instead.