Another poor outing once again for Shujaa in Dubai
RUGBY By Washington Onyango | December 4th 2021
Kenya Sevens team poor run in the new 2021-2022 World Sevens Series season continued yesterday after losing two opening pool matches at the second leg of the Dubai Sevens played at The Sevens Stadium.
Shujaa headed into the second leg on the back of another disappointing first leg show last weekend where they finished eighth with one win registered in six matches.
Hopes of rectifying that were shattered once more with two consecutive defeats in the Pool B matches played against USA and Australia.
Kenya relied on finishing as the second third best team in Dubai Sevens first leg to reach the quarter-final in the 12-nation competition and will hope for the same once again.
Shujaa kicked off the second leg on a low note after losing 21-14 to Australia.
In the match, Kenya started on the back foot after finding themselves trailing 7-0 inside the opening two minutes when Henry Hutchison crossed over the whitewash for the Aussies before Dietrich Roache converted for an early lead.
World Rugby fans favourite Alvin “Buffa” Otieno restored parity after crossing over for Kenya’s first try that Tony Omondi converted to level the scores at 7-7.
Moments later, Corey Toole came off the bench to hand the advantage back to Australia after he beat Shujaa’s defence line to cross over as Roache added the extras for a 14-7 halftime lead.
In the final half, Toole returned to the score sheet to extend the Aussies lead to 21-7.
Johnstone Olindi trimmed the gap with a try that he converted for a 21-14 score line. The Aussies held on to win the match.
In the second match, Shujaa’s hopes of reaching the Main Cup quarter-final were further dimmed after throwing away the lead twice in a 24-21 loss to USA.
Shujaa had lost to USA 14-7 during the first leg played last week and were keen to avenge the defeat, but that would never come to pass as Mike Friday’s charges proved too fast to stop as they powered their way through to the quarter-finals set for today with a game to spare.
USA started the match on the front foot after taking the lead inside the opening three minutes when their playmaker Kevon Williams beat the Kenyan defence to score a converted try for a 7-0 lead.
Herman Humwa then forced his way to the try-line from a quick a penalty to score between the sticks and tie the scores at 7-7 after conversion.
In the final minutes of the half, a beautiful interchange between Nelson Oyoo and Billy Odhiambo saw the latter race for the try line that saw them lead 14-7 at halftime.
In the final half, USA came back strong as Williams returned to haunt Kenya after racing to score an unconverted try and reduce the gap to 14-12.
Steve Tomasin centre post try moments later restored USA’s advantage as they led 19-14.
With less than a minute left, Shujaa restored their lead with Oyoo fending off defenders and racing to the try box where he gifted Alvin Marube his first try which was converted for a 21-19 lead.
USA will however break the hearts of Kenyan fans seconds later after capitalising on a poor Olindi’s deep ball kick which gifted the Americans space and time that saw speedstar Perry Baker fend off his two markers to score the try that send USA to the last eight.