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Which way Shujaa?

Kenya Sevens out to allay relegation fears as seek revenge in Singapore Sevens

In Summary

• Kenya bagged five points from the Hong Kong leg last weekend.

•Kenya will open their campaign against England at 5:34 am. The two sides last clashed in Cape Town in December with the English side winning 29-12.

Andrew Amonde
Andrew Amonde
Image: FILE

Shujaa will be seeking to ease their relegation fears when the Singapore Sevens starts today.

The Paul Murunga’s charges have had a shambolic season and with the threat of relegation hanging over their heads, it will be key that the side amass as many points as possible to escape the drop.

Kenya bagged five points from the Hong Kong leg last weekend, winning one match against Canada 19-0 and losing to eventual winners Fiji 22-5, New Zealand 36-0, Australia 29-12 and a crushing 21-12 defeat to relegation candidates Japan in the Challenge trophy semifinals.

Kenya lie 13th on the log with 23 points two ahead of Japan and three ahead of bottom-placed Wales. Three years ago, Shujaa were the talk of the town after bagging the maiden tournament win in the same venue after beating Fiji 30-7 in the final.

Fast forward, the team looks a pale shadow of the team that won the hearts and minds of the nation. Kenya will open their campaign against England at 5:34 am. The two sides last clashed in Cape Town in December with the English side winning 29-12.

Shujaa will have to keep an eye on top sevens try scorer Dan Norton, play-maker Tom Mitchell and Mark Bowen, who on their day can run rings around defences and will pose a threat to the Kenya side and are a physical side. Kenya will then face USA at 9:34 am.

The two teams have met twice this season with Mike Friday’s charges thrashing Kenya 41-0 in Sydney and winning 26-10 in Las Vegas. The Americans, who lead the standings, are on course to qualify for the Olympics automatically by virtue of being one of the top four sides in the series and will test Shujaa’s resolve in the contest. Key players for the Americans include speed star Carlin Isles and Madison Hughes. Kenya’s final pool game will be against Wales at 12:38 pm.

Kenya beat Wales 33-26 in cape town with Wales earning 19-14 revenge in Sydney. Stand-in skipper Jeffrey Oluoch said they have the momentum from last week in Hong Kong and will not be afraid of ruffling the feathers of USA and England in the pool matches.

“The boys are growing in confidence and we want to get as many points as possible in pool matches. There are no easy pools and we are relishing the contest,” added Oluoch.

He said there has been significant improvement at the breakdown and kickoffs and he expects the team to improve in the defence. “Our defence, especially on the wide channels, can get better its one area where we were punished last week and we hope to improve,” added Oluoch. Oluoch said the attack must be sharper in the weekend tournament.