Another poor outing for Shujaa as they bow out of Hong Kong Sevens

Kenya rugby sevens head coach Damian McGrath looks on during a training session on July 26, 2022 at the Broadstreet Rugby Football Club pitcch in Coventry, United Kingdom ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games between Thursday, 28 Jul 2022 – Mon, 8 Aug 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

Kenya Sevens team Shujaa was yesterday knocked out of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series season opening Hong Kong Sevens leg after failing to win any of their Group D match against Ireland, Argentina and Canada.

Despite heading to the Asian nation with heads held high after the inclusion of new blood roped in from the National Sevens Circuit, Kenya could not match the tempo of the European and American teams who dominated all the matches.

Last season, Kenyans got behind coach Damian McGrath who joined the team midway through the 2021-2022 campaign but this weekend’s performances is a show of no progress.

Shujaa began the Hong Kong leg on the wrong foot on Friday when they lost 28-12.

Olympian Billy Odhiambo landed a brace in the match but Shujaa could not break down the Irish.

The defeat made Kenya’s work even harder in their remaining Group D matches where they had to defeat Argentina and Canada to stand a chance of qualifying for the Main Cup quarterfinals.

Yesterday in the early match kick off at Hong Kong Stadium, Shujaa started brightly leading 7-0 before failing to maintain the tempo in the 26-7 defeat in their crucial match against Argentina.

KCB star Vincent Onyala’s dummy saw Kenya lead 7-0 with Anthony Omondi adding the extras before Rodrigo Isgro and Agustin Fraga responded for the South Americans who led 14-7 at the breather.

In the final half, Argentina came out even more aggressively Luciano Gonzalez and Matías Osadczuk sealed the win and qualify for the Main Cup quarterfinals.

Matters went from bad to worse after losing to Canada 19-14 in the final group stage match.

Willy Ambaka and Billy Odhiambo’s tries failed to rescue Shujaa, who trailed 14-7 at the break against Canada.

Phil Berna sliced through for the touchdown to put Canada ahead 7-0 after Thomas Isherwood conversion before Ambaka hit back for Kenya with Anthony Omondi adding the extras to level 7-7 only for Lachlan Kratz to pull them away 14-7 at the break with another Isherwood conversion.

Berna completed his brace as Isherwood added the extras. Odhiambo’s try at the death couldn’t turn the tide.

Shujaa was set to play New Zealand in the Challenge Trophy quarterfinal at 4:45am today.

Meanwhile, five-time defending champion Fiji completed a clean sweep of its pool matches to head into the quarterfinal stage as a dominating favorite.

Fiji topped Pool C by beating Japan 59-12, Spain 35-21 and USA 24-0.

St Mary's Yala, Maseno School and Kisii School win county rugby titles
St Mary's Yala keen to retain rugby title at Siaya County games
Kenya Cup champions Kabras Sugar appreciates nature by planting trees
Oluoch and Olindi return ahead of Shujaa trip to Hong Kong