Shujaa collect four points in Dubai Sevens

By Clement Wekulo: Saturday, December 7th 2019 at 21:31 GMT +3 | Rugby
Kenya's Johnstone Olindi races away from the Spain defense for a try on day two of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 men's competition on 6 December, 2019. Photo credit/KLC fotos for World Rugby

Kenya national Sevens team finish 13th in Dubai outing.

Kenya’s inability to hold their own against top opposition proved costly as Shujaa finished 13th at the Dubai Sevens, the opening round of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series which concluded yesterday.

Shujaa’s 26-14 win over Scotland in the 13th place playoff, the team’s only victory in four matches, saw the Kenyans collect four points at the three-day tournament.

It was a slight improvement from Kenya’s showing at last year’s Dubai Sevens when they finished joint last with one point after losing all matches.

While losses to sevens powerhouses South Africa (17-12) and England (12-5), who reached the Main Cup semi finals were justifiable, it is Shujaa’s 22-19 defeat by lowly Spain in their last Pool D match on Friday that left a lot to be desired.

In Dubai, Kenya Sevens coach Paul Feeney took charge of his first assignment in the Series since he was  appointed and from his fielding, it was evident that the New Zealander is a proponent of rotation as he didn’t favour a particular starting seven.

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In the three defeats, Feeney’s charges managed to keep the margins decent, something which they were unable to do last season and this is proof that the side will certainly have a better campaign.

At last season’s Dubai event, Shujaa were porous, letting in 150 points in five matches but this year’s edition has seen the side improve that statistic having conceded 65 in four fixtures.

The returning William Ambaka and Billy Odhiambo made their first appearance in the series after missing last season due to a contractual wrangle with the Kenya Rugby Union but the duo is yet to hit the ground running.

They have failed to cross the whitewash and it remains to be seen whether they will rediscover their form as the 10-legged series heads to Cape Town, South Africa next weekend.

In their win against the Scots yesterday, Shujaa were made to wait until the sixth minute before taking the lead after Andrew Amonde’s quickly taken penalty saw him set up Daniel Sikuta for a try which was converted.

Vincent Onyala would then receive a pass from Jeffrey Oluoch before turning his marker inside out to score Kenya’s second try as the side took a 14-0 cushion to the break.

Sam Pecqueur reduced the deficit for Scotland with their first try which was converted but Johnstone Olindi and Alvin Otieno put the result beyond doubt.

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