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AYIMBA PROUD OF SHUJAA: Sevens coach says Dubai was good foundation despite poor show

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | December 6th 2015
RUGBYU-SEVENS-ENG-KEN Dan Norton (L) of England tackles Billy Odhiambo of Kenya during their rugby match of the Dubai leg of IRB's Sevens World Series on December 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI

Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba says he is proud of his team despite their dismal performance at the Dubai Sevens, the first leg of the 2015/16 Sevens World Series.

Shujaa suffered a 33-7 humiliation at the hands of France in the Bowl semi-finals, at The Sevens Stadium, yesterday.

Kenya were relegated to the Bowl category after losing 14-12 to Australia in their opening Group D match on Friday before falling to England (12-19) and Wales (12-10).

Last year, Shujaa managed to garner only two points from the 2014/2015 season finishing 13th in the overall IRB World Sevens Series standings.

“It is a good foundation for building the team and we have had a lot of gains from the last tournament played here. A few errors really cost us, but all the same this turned out to be a good chance to expose the young ones at the top level. As far as I am concerned, we have achieved a lot in this outing and we hope to bounce back in Cape Town,” Ayimba told Feverpitch on phone from Dubai.

France scored their first try when a brave Virimi Vakatawa outmuscled the Kenya defence to touch down within the second minute, but Terry Bourahoua missed the conversion making the scores 5-0.

However, Bourahoua made amends to convert Sacha Valleau and Steeve Barry’s tries as France went to break leading 19-0.

After the break, Bourahoua scored a brace of tries to take the game beyond Kenya’s reach before replacement Bush Mwale outpaced his markers to convert Shujaa’s consolation try that was converted by Leonard Mugaisi.

Earlier, Shujaa stunned a resilient Japan 17-12 in the Bowl quarter-finals as France beat Russia 38-5 to sail through.

Wales claimed a 24-14 victory over Canada, while Scotland beat Portugal 21-14 in the other quarters.

Kenya Harlequin winger Willy Ambaka put Kenya in the driving seat in the third minute with Biko Adema successfully converting before the Nondescript centre’s an unconverted try handed Kenya a comfortable 12-0 half time lead.

However, Josefa Lilidamu pulled back a converted try for Japan in the tenth minute before Kameli Raravou Soejima levelled the scores.

With the scores locked at 12-12 it was substitute Jeffery Oluoch’s who scored the decisive try in sudden death extra time to secure Kenya’s only win in the first leg of the season.

Shujaa now shifts their focus to next weekend’s Cape Town Sevens, the second leg of the 2015/16 Sevens World Series.

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