Kenya's Shujaa registered mixed results on day one of the Dubai Sevens at the Sevens Stadium, yesterday.
In their first Group A match, World Rugby Sevens Series defending champions and current series leaders Australia came from behind twice to deny Shujaa their first win of the 2022-2023 season after holding Shujaa to a 19-19 draw.
After a winless run during last month's season opener in Hong Kong, Kenya needed a bright start and despite going 14-7 up at the break, they could not edge out the high-flying Aussies who also won the Hong Kong leg.
Herman Humwa gave Kenya an early 7-0 lead after touching down inside the opening minute that Anthony Omondi converted before Billy Odhiambo added a second try converted by Omondi for a 14-0 surprise lead.
The Aussies would however respond with a Josh Turner try converted by Maurice Longbottom as they trailed 14-7 at the breather.
In the final half, the series defending champions restored parity through Henry Paterson whose try was converted by Dietrich Roache for a 14-14 tie with four minutes left to play.
Willy Ambaka who was vocal last week during Shujaa’s financial crisis outburst in social media gave Kenya the lead once again after touching down in the corner but the conversion would sail wide.
The missed conversion would come to haunt Shujaa after Australia leveled the scores once again through Longbottom in the final minutes.
In the second match, things went from better to worse quickly after trailing 17-0 against African heavyweights South Africa who scored through JC Pretorius, Ryan Oosthuizen and Impi Visser.
Despite Shujaa responding with two tries from Anthony Omondi and Dennis Abukuse, Dewald Human and Ricardo James Duarttee ensured victory for the Blitzboks.
South Africa lost their first match 12-5 to Great Britain. Kenya was due to play Great Britain in their last group match last night.
Last month, Shujaa had a poor start to the season at the Hong Kong Sevens where they finished last without a win.
Shujaa only managed to squeeze a point from the leg when they lost to New Zealand 43-0 in the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals before shockingly going down to Uruguay 10-7 in the semi-final for 13th place. That is after losing all their group matches.
Locally, former Kenya Cup champions KCB will be eager to maintain their perfect start to the 2022-2023 season when they travel to play Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) RFC today in Kakamega.
Currently second in the log with five points the same as leaders Menengai Oilers and third placed Kabras Sugar, the bankers this season have set a target of finishing top and will need a bonus point win to ensure they remain on course to achieve their target.
However, MMUST have improved over the past years and they will be seeking to bounce back to winning ways after narrowly losing to Strathmore Leos last weekend.