Kenya Sevens finish second at Rugby Africa tournament

Kenya Sevens' Vincent Onyala in action against Chile at Dubai 7s. [Courtesy-Dubai 7s]

Kenya Sevens team Shujaa finished second at the Rugby Africa Solidarity Sevens first leg tournament that ended yesterday at Markötter Stadium, Stellenbosch in South Africa.

Despite posting an impressive performance in the round-robin group matches, Shujaa lost 31-7 to South Africa 1 in the finals of the two-day event. The hosts registered two squads in South Africa 1 and South Africa 2.

In what was a repeat of the group stage match that Kenya had lost 27-14 on the opening day of the tournament, the East Africans headed into the fixture seeking revenge but once again failed to overcome the Blitzboks.

South African speed star Selvyn Davids sold a pair of wheels to give the hosts a narrow 5-0 lead after Branco du Preez missed conversion before assisting his teammate Angelo Davids for a 10-0 lead in the opening five minutes.

Kenya responded through Alvin Otieno’s converted try for the hosts to take a narrow 10-7 lead at the breather.

A series of mistakes including ball handling errors by the Kenyans saw South Africa capitalise to score three more tries through Angelo Davids, Christie Grobbelaar and Ruhan Nel in the final half to secure a 31-7 victory.

Kenya had won four out of the five matches played in the round-robin competition.

On their way to the final, Nelson Oyoo scored a brace to inspire Kenya to a 24-7 comeback win over rivals Uganda in Stellenbosch.

Uganda were first off the blocks after former Kabras Sugar star Philip Wokorach danced his way through the Kenyan defence to give his side a rare lead with a converted try. 

Kenya responded before the break with Oyoo touching down the right corner post after a beautiful offload from Billy Odhiambo but Uganda maintained the lead (7-5) after Tony Omondi missed the extras.

Shujaa forward Alvin Otieno plays a pass during training at the RFUEA grounds on Feb 20, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

In the closing half, Kenya started imposing their dominance after Oyoo raced past the Ugandan defence to grab his second try of the match as Innocent Simiyu’s boys took a 12-7 lead after Omondi’s conversion.

Alvin Otieno stretched the scores to 17-7 with another corner post try from the left wing before Daniel Taabu dummied his way to the try line to seal a comfortable 24-7 win over Uganda.

Earlier on, Kenya thrashed Stellenbosch Academy of Sport 26-0 in a one sided match.

Jeffrey Oluoch, Alvin Otieno, Derrick Keyoga and Vincent Onyala’s tries were enough to hand Kenya the emphatic win.

On Saturday, Shujaa demolished Zimbabwe 24-0 before going down to South Africa 1 27-14. Kenya would however redeem themselves with an impressive 19-12 win over South Africa 2.

On the other hand, South Africa won all their matches with their latest being a 42-0 win over SA Sevens Academy to top the five-team pool.

Meanwhile, South Africa 2 finished third in the tournament after defeating Uganda 26-7 in the third place playoffs.

The Rugby Africa Sevens camp will act as a competitive training camp including two tournament weekends for host South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya as part of Tokyo Olympics preparations. Shujaa will be back in action again next week for the second leg of the tourney.