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Shujaa qualify for World Rugby HSBC Sevens Madrid playoffs

 Shujaa players celebrate after qualifying for playoffs.[World Rugby]

Kenya rugby Sevens team's dream of returning back to the World Rugby Sevens Series currently dubbed HSBC SVNS Series will continue in two weeks despite posting not so impressive results in the 2024 World Rugby Challenger Series.

Shujaa, who have had a depreciating form since the Challenger Series kicked off in January, will face off against Chile, Samoa and Spain in the HSBC Sevens Madrid playoffs set for May 31-June 2 in Spain.

Kenya qualified for the playoffs after finishing second in the Challenger Series standings behind leaders Uruguay.

Shujaa finished at a disappointing fifth place in the final leg of the series played in Munich, Germany over the weekend, a result that is below their earlier set par where they won gold in Dubai and bronze in Montevideo, Uruguay.

However, Kenya’s captain Vincent Onyala said they still have time to rectify their mistakes and improve their performances ahead of the Madrid showdown.

“We are definitely happy, because we achieved our goal of making it to the playoffs, Now we just wait to see what Madrid has for us. Hopefully, we’ll get there and build on our little moments then see ourselves back in the HSBC SVNS Series.”

“It will be big. Our programme will grow. The boys that are coming in will experience what it means to play with the best and we’ll build on from there,” said Onyala.

Uruguay beat Germany 21-19 in a pulsating final, while Hong Kong China, who just missed out on the top four, had the consolation of the bronze medal in Munich.

Kenya failed to make the semi-finals on this occasion but a fifth-place finish was enough for them to finish as runner-up to Uruguay in the final standings.

The pools for the HSBC SVNS Play Off in Madrid see Uruguay and Germany face the USA and Canada in Group A.

There was more to play for than ever before in this year’s Challenger with the competition expanded to three rounds and the top four placed men’s and women’s teams with a chance of gaining promotion to HSBC SVNS 2025 through the new play off tournament.

The 2024 HSBC SVNS season will reach a dramatic conclusion in Madrid as the top eight teams play in a winner takes-it-all Grand Final to become SVNS Champions, while the bottom four HSBC SVNS teams will play-off against the top four teams from the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger to qualify for the 2025 HSBC SVNS series.

The Challenger was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby Sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the top level of global rugby Sevens.

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