Hosts USA and France cage Shujaa in World Rugby Series

By Clement Wekulo: Sunday, March 3rd 2019 at 13:12 GMT +3 | Rugby
Jean-Pascal Barraque of France (L) is tackled by Michael Wanjala of Kenya during their pool match on day one of the USA Sevens Rugby tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 1, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Vincent Onyala’s converted try in the second half could only serve as a consolation, as Kenya lost 31-7 to France in their second match of the Las Vegas Sevens at Sam Boyd Stadium yesterday.

It was the eighth successive loss in the series for Kenya, who had finished winless at last month’s Sydney Sevens in Australia. 

The loss consequently saw Shujaa, who had gone down 26-10 to hosts USA in their first pool B match, drop to the Challenge Trophy with one match to spare. They were scheduled to tackle Argentina last night.

In what was the fifth meeting between Kenya and France in the 2018-19 campaign, the Frenchmen took a fourth minute lead as Paulin Riva completed a fantastic move with an unconverted try.

France then stretched their advantage courtesy of Jean Pascal Barraque, who converted his own try to hand his side a 12-0 cushion at half time.

The Kenyans started the second half strongly, but despite enjoying a huge chunk of possession, they conceded a third try.

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France won a penalty and a quick tap by Stephen Paez saw him drift away from Kenyan defenders before crossing the whitewash for a try which was converted by Barraque.

Vincent Onyala pulled one back for Shujaa before France hit back instantly through Marvin O’Connor who forced his way to the tryline before Barraque added the extras.

O’Connor sealed his brace deep into the second half as France held on to continue with their impressive form against Kenya in recent meetings.

In their first match against USA, Kenya started on the front foot and were denied a try-scoring opportunity after Cyprian Kuto was held up, having made his way to the USA territory.

It was however the home side who drew first blood as Danny Barrett played in Carlin Isles who beat Vincent Onyala on pace before grounding the ball. The ensuing conversion went wide.

The speedy Isles compounded Kenya’s woes three minutes later as he raced almost the entire length of the field to seal his brace before Madison Hughes added the conversion.

Shujaa captain Jacob Ojee gave his team a glimmer of hope with a five-pointer on the stroke of halftime. The winger’s try came after Kenya had won a penalty, before spreading the ball to the right wing where he found himself with acres of space.

On resumption, Hughes converted Stephen Tomasin’s five-pointer before he added the extras to his try to give USAa 26-5 lead.