Shujaa stretched to the limit in World rugby Sevens series
By Washington Onyango - May 31st 2022
Kenya Sevens struggles at the World Rugby Seven Series continued over the weekend after they finished last at the London Sevens in England.
Shujaa are a pale shadow of themselves with worrying performances in the world stage, especially since the beginning of the year.
Currently one of the 15 “core teams” of the World Series and with a guaranteed place in all 10 events each season, many expect Kenya to compete for titles alongside Argentina, Fiji, South Africa and Australia, who are considered world best rugby Sevens teams.
However, Shujaa has been reduced to whipping boys who are always bullied and thrashed with teams Kenya predominantly used to dominate.
Since the beginning of the year, Kenya has not gone past the group stage after poor results in Malaga, Seville, Singapore, Vancouver, Toulouse and now London.
It’s these string of poor results that saw Kenya Rugby Union fire head coach Innocent Simiyu two weeks ago. However, the change of guard at Shujaa has done nothing to improve the performance of the team as the squad once again failed to impress at the hands of newly appointed Briton tactician Damian McGrath.
In London, Kenya finished last after failing to win any of their six-matches played at Twickenham Stadium.
Shujaa failed to progress to the quarterfinals for the sixth time in a row after dropping to the Challenge Trophy. They lost all their Group B matches.
Shujaa lost their opening Group B match to Ireland 17-14 before their fate was sealed by World Sevens Series leaders Argentina who thrashed them 26-0. A narrow 24-21 defeat to South Africa saw them drop to the Challenge Trophy and out of the Main Cup quarterfinals.
McGrath’s charges lost 31-0 to France in the ninth place semifinals before losing yet again to Japan 14-5 in the 13th place semi-final.
Kenya has now picked one point in their last three legs in Vancouver, Toulouse and London.
Before McGrath’s appointment, Shujaa were ranked 10th in the standings.
However, Shujaa have dropped to 13th with 38 points and will need to work harder in the season-ending leg in Los Angeles, USA in August.
Kenya has been pooled in Group D in the Los Angeles Sevens where they will face off against England, Scotland and Samoa.
The team will return home to prepare for the Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 29 to August 8 in Birmingham, England.
Elsewhere, Kenya Simbas lost their fifth Currie Cup match after going down to SWD Eagles 24-7 at City Park Stadium, Athlone in South Africa. Kenya have won once and lost five times in their six rounds of matches played.
The Simbas lost their opening three matches against Falcons 51-14 on April 9 before going down 22-21 to Zimbabwe on April 23 and Griffons 66-33, on April 30.
A 35-12 win over Border Bulldogs on May 7 sprung the team to life before being given a reality check by Boland Cavaliers in a 45-33 defeat.
However, Kenya will make history next month when they host two Currie Cup Division One matches in Nairobi.
Simbas will take on Leopards on June 4 before meeting Eastern Province Elephants on June 11.
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