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Shujaa revive rivalry in Spain

RUGBY By Mike Kihaki | January 27th 2022 | 2 min read
Kenya Sevens at Malaga Sevens, Spain. [Courtesy-World Rugby]

Kenya Sevens Shujaa hope for good tidings this time around when they launch their Seville Sevens quest against Australia at Estadio la Cartuja at 4.49pm on Friday in Spain.

Following a dismal performance in Malaga, Shujaa have been placed in a tricky Pool D of the Seville Sevens where they face Australia, Canada and Scotland.

Innocent Simiyu's charges picked up just a point after winning one match and losing five in a disjointed campaign which saw Kenya drop to ninth place on the log on 23 points.

Shujaa will open their campaign against Australia in a repeat of their Dubai Sevens clash, where the Aussies won 21-14, before seeking revenge against Canada and Scotland on Saturday at 10.45am and 4.30pm respectively, the third meeting between the two sides this season, having won one match each.

Shujaa finished last at the previous Malaga Sevens, losing to Japan 26-17 in the semi-final for 13th place. That saw them collect one point for the 2021/2022 World Rugby Sevens Series.

Shujaa, who are now placed ninth in the Series with 23 points, lost to Canada and Scotland at different stages at Malaga Sevens.

"We were not clinical enough at key moments of the game," said Shujaa coach Innocent "Namcos" Simiyu, who believes that composure and belief in the system when under pressure will work for his team.

"Our key focus now is to hit our performance standards consistently in a game and hopefully qualify first for the quarters," explained Simiyu, adding that his boys have recovered well and are ready to go.

"We have done reviews of those key moments and hopefully we will execute better. The boys need to learn pretty fast," said Simiyu. 

Shujaa settled eighth in the opening leg of Dubai Sevens I after losing to Ireland 29-7 in the final for seventh place. That handed them 10 points for the Series.

Then came the Dubai Sevens II and Kenya improved to collect 12 points after losing to Great Britain 10-5 in the final for fifth place.

The Dubai Seven I and II featured three pools where Shujaa reached the Cup quarter-finals despite winning only one match in each of the events.

Shujaa will renew rivalry with Canada and Australia whom they met in the pool stage at Dubai Sevens II. They beat Canada 24-16 but lost to Australia 21-14. Kenya would lose to South Africa 31-19 in the Cup but went on to beat United States 29-0 in the semi-final for fifth place before losing out to Great Britain in the final.

Then Canada would claim revenge against the Kenyans 19-17 at Malaga Sevens' pool stage where they also lost to Wales 19-14 before beating France 26-15.

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