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Australia cage Kenya in Dubai: National Sevens Rugby team manage two wins in three matches on first day but lose two matches on last day

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | December 3rd 2017
Rallying Carl 'Flash' Tundo in action at the East Africa Safari Classic. [Standard Sports]

NZ, Aussies tame Kenya in Dubai 7s

Shujaa drop to fifth place semi-final after losing to New Zealand in Sevens World Series.

Kenya collected ten points in the opening leg of the 2017-2018 HSBC Sevens World Series season after falling 12-19 to Australia in the fifth place play-offs at The Sevens Stadium, in Dubai yesterday.

Kenya dropped to the fifth place semifinal after they had thrown away a 12-7 first half lead to lose 14-12 to New Zealand in the Cup quarterfinals.

Kenya managed to win only two out of five matches in the opening round after the two knock out loses and Friday’s 48-5 Group A match defeat to Series champions South Africa.

Australia went ahead through Tim Anstee’s unconverted try, who turned the final Kenyan defender inside out, after receiving a brilliant pass from Brandon Quinn.

But Shujaa responded immediately with Sammy Oliech converting Frank Wanyama’s try for Innocent Simiyu’s charges to take a slim 7-5 halftime lead.

Lachie Anderson would land a converted try on restart before he delivered the ball to Matthew Hood who extended the lead with James Stannard adding the extras. Nelson Oyoo grounded a late try, but the European side held their nerves to book a 5th Place play-off date with Samoa.

Against New Zealand, Kenya put in a spirited fight but the All Blacks proved their worthiness, capitalizing on Kenya’s defensive error to win the game at the death.

It was the former series champions who went ahead through Dylan Collier’s converted try but Sammy Oliech restored parity after successfully converting Eden Agero’s try.

Oliech then put Shujaa 12-7 up, scoring from the restart but missing the conversion, his side taking the lead into the interval.

A brave second half defensive effort for Shujaa was eventually cut short just before full time, Andrew Knewstubb kicking over the Shujaa defense to touch down, the ensuing conversion giving New Zealand the lead, their victory confirmed after a Shujaa handling error at the death.

Focus now shifts to next weekend’s second leg of the season in Cape Town, South Africa.

Meanwhile, rugby players have been allowed to write messages on strapping tape during World Seven Series matches after the World Rugby backed down slightly on its policy on banning personal messages on wrist strapping.

This comes barely a week after the global body received widespread criticisms on its apparent plan to  ban strapping art.

Players argued they often put family initials on their wrists to use as motivation during the games that kicked-off with the Dubai Sevens yesterday.

“Strapping art gives most athletes the psychological boost when on the field. For my case, Webuye reminds me of my struggle growing up there ,why I play this game and the people I represent,” said Kenyan international Frank Wanyama, who played with a ‘Webuye’ writing on his left hand strapping last season.

In a statement, World Rugby said they have adopted a common-sense approach.

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