Kenya Sevens began the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series season on the back foot after losing to Ireland 28-12 in the Hong Kong Sevens opener yesterday at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Despite Olympian Billy Odhiambo landing a brace in the match, Shujaa could not break down the Irish making their work even harder in the remaining Group D matches where they have to play South American rugby heavyweights Argentina and Canada today.
Odhiambo gave Kenya a narrow 5-0 lead after touching down for an unconverted try in the far left corner before the Irish took a 7-5 lead when Niall Comerford corner post try was converted by Mark Roche.
Poor ball handling from Shujaa would comeback to haunt Damian McGrath led side when Jordan Conroy midfield-splitting run gifted the Irish an easy centre post try that Roche converted for a 14-5 halftime lead.
Shujaa were more positive and aggressive in the second half when Odhiambo landed his brace that was converted by Anthony Omondi, but the Irish slowed down Kenya’s comeback attempt with two late tries from Conroy and Jack Kelly to win 28-12 after Billy Dardis conversions.
The defeat leaves Shujaa third in Group D standings with one point same as Canada who were thrashed 40-0 by Argentina.
The South Americans lead the log with three points same as Ireland but with a superior point difference.
Kenya must now defeat Argentina and Canada today at 6:25am and 9:45pm to stand a chance of qualifying for the Main Cup knock out stages.
Back home, defending champions KCB Rugby will face Blak Blad from Kenyatta University in the Impala Floodlit semi-finals at the Impala Sports Club today.
The bankers battled to edge out Kenya Harlequin 14-10 in a close mid-week clash that was postponed from last Saturday.
Nondescript also stopped hosts Impala Saracens 33-7 in the delayed quarterfinal match on Wednesday to set up a semi-final clash with Menengai Oilers.
In Kisumu, Kenya Cup champions Kabras Sugar will renew their rivalry with KRU Championship side Kisumu RFC in the Victoria Cup semifinal match to be played at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium.
The other semifinal match will see MMUST play Western Bulls.