Shujaa now shifts focus to Africa Cup after Vancouver 7s
When the Kenya evens team shocked USA 19-17 in the Vancouver 7s World Rugby event opener, the team was poised to improve on their Singapore Sevens performance after beating their fourth-placed opponents in a pool match that turned out to be the only win for the side who picked a single point at the BC Place Stadium, Vancouver.
The team is still placed 10th on the standings and now shifts focus to the incoming Rugby World Cup (RWC) Sevens qualifiers-cum-2022 Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens due on April 23-24 at Kyadondo where Kenya will defend its title against 13 African teams. The top two teams at the end of the event, except already qualified Kenya, will secure slots for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Kenya’s forward duo of Bush Mwale and Kevin Wekesa was in good form over the weekend and the two gave Kenya three crucial tries boosted by two conversions by Tony Omondi to beat the USA Eagles by conversion but the team lost 38-7 to Fiji in the second match of the day to leave Shujaa under pressure to beat England who set Kenya under pressure right from kick-off.
World Sevens all-time top try scorer and still active Dan Norton scored in the opener minute for a crucial 7-0 lead against Shujaa in a nervy final group match that was set to produce the second-best in pool A behind Fiji. The winner of the match was set to face the eventual champs Argentina who nailed Fiji 29-10 for the title.
Bush Mwale and Kevin Wekesa’s comeback efforts of scoring a try each and conversion by Tony Omondi could not beat England’s three try to beat Kenya 19-12 to earn the cup quarter slot through points difference against USA Eagles.
The win also turned out to be England’s sole win of the weekend but by virtue of making the top eight cut, the side collected 10 points despite getting a 40-17 beating by Argentina in the quarterfinals and a corresponding 34-5 beating by New Zealand in the 5th place semis.
The second day was not a good day for SHujaa as the team lost grip on a 7-7 stalemate against Ireland to fall 21-14. Skipper Nelson Oyoo and Billy Odhiambo scored a try each while Tony Omondi converted both tries in the 9th place quarterfinals to drop to the 13th place semis where Kenya closed their campaign with a 24-7 loss to Spain which is the second in a row loss to the Spaniards after a 19-10 loss in Singapore the previous weekend.