TRICKY AFFAIR

Tough pool for Shujaa in Malaga Sevens in January

Champions South Africa, who won back-to-back titles in Dubai, are in Pool A and face Olympic champions Fiji, Scotland and England.

In Summary

• Malaga and Seville replace the Hamilton (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia) legs as the two island nations are still battling with Covid-19.

•Innocent Simiyu's charges were competitive against South Africa, losing 31-19 in the quarterfinals to drop to the classification matches where they earned a measure of revenge by beating USA 29-0.

Kenya's Nelson Oyoo drives through the Australia defence during the Hong Kong sevens
Kenya's Nelson Oyoo drives through the Australia defence during the Hong Kong sevens
Image: /COURTESY

Kenya Sevens are placed in a tricky Pool D where they face France, Canada and Wales for the Malaga Sevens (Spain) slated for January 23-24.

Malaga and Seville replace the Hamilton (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia) legs as the two island nations are still battling with Covid-19.

Shujaa finished sixth overall at the just concluded Dubai Sevens, winning two matches out of six and bagging 12 points in the two-day event which ended on Saturday at the Sevens Stadium.

In Malaga, the series returns to a traditional 16-team format for the first time in two years after experimenting with 12 teams for the first two legs of the new season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shujaa qualified for the main cup quarterfinals as one of two best-placed third-placed sides alongside Ireland after finishing third in their pool with a solitary win, 26-12 over Canada, after losses to Australia (21-14) and USA (24-21).

Innocent Simiyu's charges were competitive against South Africa, losing 31-19 in the quarterfinals to drop to the classification matches where they earned a measure of revenge by beating USA 29-0.

Tony Omondi scored a brace with Jeffrey Oluoch, Johnstone Olindi and Alvin Otieno scoring once each as Olindi kicked over two conversions. Kenya led 12-0 at the interval.

In the fifth-place classification encounter, Kenya lost 10-5 to Great Britain with Jeffrey Oluoch scoring Kenya's try.

Simiyu said there was marginal improvement in his side and hope the team will start the New Year with better performances.

"I'm delighted with the improvement in some facets of play. With the young players getting to terms with the rigours of Sevens, we can play better,” noted Simiyu.

Skipper Nelson Oyoo hailed the never-say-die spirit of his team.

“We showed fight and character. We never gave up despite the defeats and it bodes well as we head out for the rest of the series in the New Year," said Oyoo.

Champions South Africa, who won back-to-back titles in Dubai, are in Pool A and face Olympic champions Fiji, Scotland and England. Former champions New Zealand return in Pool B alongside Australia, Ireland and Japan. Pool C features Argentina, USA, Spain and Samoa

Shujaa arrived on Sunday and will rest for ten days before resuming training mid this month.

Standings

  1. 1. South Africa 44
  2. 2. Argentina 34
  3. 3. Australia 32
  4. 4. USA 30
  5. 5. Great Britain 25
  6. 6. Fiji 23
  7. 7. France 23
  8. 8. Kenya 22
  9. 9. Ireland 21
  10. 10. Spain 14
  11. 11. Canada 11
  12. 12. Japan 11
  13. 13. England 4
  14. 14. Scotland 4
  15. 15. Wales 4
  16. 16. New Zealand 0
  17. 17. Samoa 0