POSITIVE START

Shujaa coach McGrath elated as charges pick first win

Shujaa's campaign at the games took off on a plausive note with an emphatic 27-14 thumping of Uganda Rugby Cranes in their Group D opener in Birmingham on Friday afternoon.

In Summary

•McGareth said they floored a worthy opponent, saying it was not the first time he was flexing muscles with the Ugandans.

•Shujaa face Jamaica next at 8:58 pm. They will wind up their preliminary fixtures against one of the tournament favourites, Australia at 12:50 pm on Saturday.

Kenya's Nelson Oyoo drives through the Australia defence in a past event
Kenya's Nelson Oyoo drives through the Australia defence in a past event
Image: HANDOUT

Kenya 7s men's national team (Shujaa) head coach, Damian McGrath says the team's solid start at the Coventry Stadium attests to their potential in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Shujaa's campaign at the games took off on a plausive note with an emphatic 27-14 thumping of Uganda Rugby Cranes in their Group D opener in Birmingham on Friday afternoon.

“We started well but I think the emotion of the whole occasion soaked up a lot of energy from us in the end and we got scrappy but for us, a win is a win. You get no trophies on the first day,” McGrath said.

McGrath said they floored a worthy opponent, saying it was not the first time he was flexing muscles with the Ugandans.

“They are a good team and they've been together for a long time. I know that from coaching previous teams against them. So to win in the manner we did is what we got to be happy for,” McGrath said.

Shujaa skipper Nelson Oyoo extolled his teammates for bagging the win despite the hiccups they experienced in the match.

“I think it was a good game considering we only came from our seven-week training camp the other day and had our first game almost immediately,” Oyoo said.

“For a tournament to start with a win is a good sign for the team although, at some point, we felt we were losing our focus and maybe some lapses in the game. But we take it as a lesson going into the next game.”

He called on the team to step on the gas pedal even as they prepare for their next assignment.

“There is no less opponent in this tournament and every opponent deserves some respect. We are going to take it just like any other game and give them the respect they deserve.”

Shujaa ran in five tries, one of which was converted while Uganda crossed over twice, and converted all, but not enough to shake down a well-worked victory for Damian McGrath’s men.

The victory was sweet revenge for McGrath's charges who suffered humiliation at the hands of their opponents two months ago.

The two sides clashed at the Africa Cup Sevens semifinals in April in Kampala with the Ugandans coming out victors 22-12 en route to winning the competition.

Shujaa face Jamaica next. They will wind up their preliminary fixtures against one of the tournament favourites, Australia at 12:50 pm on Saturday.