Shujaa finish eighth after poor show at Dubai 7s


Billy Odhiambo in action against Uganda, Dubai 7s. [Courtesy-Dubai 7s]

Kenya Sevens team made a poor start to the 2021-2022 World 7s Series season managing only an eighth-place finish at the Dubai Sevens first leg played at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai over the past two days.

After a day of mixed results on Friday where Kenya lost twice to Argentina and USA before a win against Spain in their Group B encounters, many expected Shujaa to improve on their performances yesterday after scrapping through to the knockout stage courtesy of best loser position.

However, it was the same story after Innocent Simiyu’s charges lost all their three matches.

In the quarterfinals, Kenya renewed rivalry with Olympic champions Fiji where despite leading 5-0 after four minutes, Fiji were to show their strength after staging a comeback to win the match.

Kenya started off well and dominated the possession in the early minutes of the match that saw Herman Humwa cross over the whitewash for the first try which they failed to convert from close range.

However, Fiji struck back with tries from Joseva Talacalo and Filipe Sauturaga converted by Waisea Nacuqu to enjoy a 14-5 half-time lead.

There was no coming back for Kenya after the break as Fiji dominated play, adding the third try through Panapasa Qeruqeru as Fiji won 19-5.

Kenya dropped to rankings matches for positions five to eight where they met Great Britain who once again thrashed them 33-5.

The defeat relegated Shujaa further to the position seven and eight classification match which again did not go their way after losing 29-7 to Ireland.

Despite boasting of a 22-0 win at the Tokyo Olympic Games and 38-5 win during the 2021 Series in Vancouver Sevens, Shujaa could not withstand the Irish who dominated a tired-looking Kenyan team.

Shujaa end the tournament with just one win out of the six matches played.

On the way to the eighth place finish, Shujaa suffered defeats against USA 14-7 and Argentina 22-17 and beat Spain 26-12 at group stage.

Shujaa now shift focus to next weekend Dubai 7s second leg.

Elsewhere, the rugby international between the Barbarians and Samoa was called off only 90 minutes before kickoff at Twickenham yesterday due to six confirmed cases of the coronavirus among the Barbarians players and staff.

The decision was made following a recommendation by the Professional Game Testing Oversight Group, the Rugby Football Union said.

“We appreciate that this is an extremely disappointing situation for the many fans due to attend,” the RFU said, “but the safety of all members of both teams is our priority.”

Four players and two members of staff have tested position for the virus.

A match between Barbarians Women and a Springbok Women’s XV will now take place at the same time.

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