Shujaa to fight for survival at London Sevens

By Clement Wekulo: Friday, May 24th 2019 at 00:45 GMT +3 | Rugby
Cyprian Kuto (right) competes for possession with Scotland's Nyle Godsmark during World Rugby Sevens Series in Hamilton, in January. [AFP]

Kenya’s Shujaa is one of three teams embroiled in the relegation dogfight as the 2018-19 World Sevens Series reaches its penultimate round at the Twickenham Stadium, London starting tomorrow.

With two legs left, Kenya, who three years ago were crowned Singapore Sevens champions, find themselves in unfamiliar territory and only four points separate them with Japan who occupy the relegation spot.

As things stand, the Paul Murunga-coached Shujaa, who arrived in the English capital on Tuesday, are 13th with 26 points while Wales and Japan sit at 14th and 15th positions with 25 and 22 points respectively. 

The East Africans, therefore, head to London with their work clearly cut out and to boost their survival chances, they must ensure that neither Japan nor the Welshmen perform better than them in the two-day showpiece.

Kenya are drawn in pool B alongside Fiji, Samoa and France. They will open their campaign with a tough match against last season’s series runner-up Fiji before meeting the Samoans and France.

Before the side left the country, coach Murunga was categorical that they can’t afford any further slip-ups in the remaining two legs if they are to uphold their status as a core team.

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“London and Paris is a delicate situation for us as we need to ensure we retain our core status in the Series,” Murunga said while exuding confidence that his charges will avoid the axe.

By their standards, Murunga’s men have with no doubt performed dismally thus far, having failed to go past the pool stages in the eight legs played.

Their best performance this term was the 10th place finish at the Hamilton Sevens where they managed to collect 7 points after losing to England in the Challenge Trophy final.

The team has been boosted by the return of captain Jacob Ojee who is fresh from leading his club KCB to a third successive Kenya Cup title. Others who have made a return are Homeboyz trio of Cyprian Kuto, Brian Wandera and Charles Omondi.

Ireland, who are set to replace the relegated side after next weekend’s Paris Sevens,  will feature in the London tournament as an invited side.

Shujaa fixtures in London 

Versus Fiji - 12:36 pm
Versus Samoa - 3:20 pm
Versus France - 6:26 pm
London Sevens Pools 
Pool A: South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Japan
Pool B: Fiji, Samoa, France, Kenya
Pool C: England, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland
Pool  D: USA, Australia, Wales, Spain