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Shujaa expect tough task in Vancouver 7s

RUGBY By Clement Wekulo | March 7th 2020 | 2 min read
Shujaa centre Oscar Dennis(right) is tracked down by forward Bush Mwale during training at the RFUEA grounds ahead of the Los Angeles and Vancouver Sevens. Feb 20, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Having received a reality check at the Los Angeles tournament, the Kenya national Sevens team will be keen to redeem themselves when the Vancouver Sevens takes place in Canada today and tomorrow.

Shujaa, who occupy 11th position on the 2019-20 World Sevens Series standings with 29 points, had a tournament to forget in the USA last weekend as they finished 14th after picking a paltry three points and the Paul Feeney-coached side will be out to make amends in the Canadian city.

The Kenyans are currently enduring a poor run of form after picking a total of four points in their last two outings in Australia and USA and not even the return of the side’s experienced players eased their troubles.

In Los Angeles, Kenya could only manage two wins in six fixtures with South Africa, Canada, Samoa and Scotland all beating them in a performance that left a lot to be desired.

At the Vancouver event, Shujaa have been drawn in pool C alongside series leaders New Zealand, Ireland and Spain and Feeney has his work cut out as far as rebuilding the team’s reputation is concerned.

Shujaa launch the Vancouver Sevens campaign against the All Blacks tonight in a match that will see Feeney come up against his fellow countrymen who are among the favourites to claim this season’s series title.

The New Zealanders, who are 12-time winners of the World Sevens Series, sit at the helm of the standings with 93 points, four more than South Africa in second.

Kenya have a poor head-to-head record against New Zealand, having lost in all the previous five meetings.

Shujaa coach Paul Feeney gestures during training at the RFUEA grounds ahead of the Los Angeles and Vancouver Sevens. Feb 20, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Shujaa’s last win in the fixture was a 21-12 victory at the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens.

The sides have faced each other on one occasion this season, a match that ended in favour of New Zealand at the Sydney Sevens last month.

With two teams advancing to the Main Cup quarter-finals from each of the four pools, Shujaa will fancy their chances regardless of how they fair against the New Zealanders.

Shujaa, who have kept faith in the squad that did duty in USA, will face Ireland in their second match and they will head to that contest with a psychological edge having beaten the newly promoted side 29-12 last weekend.

Kenya and Ireland have faced off only twice with Shujaa winning one match while the other ended in a 24-24 draw.

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