Two cup quarter final appearances is the best result that the Kenya 7s squad posted in 2017 as well as scooping the challenge trophy in Las Vegas and Wellingtone.
The East African side started the year in New Zealand at the Wellingtone 7s where they managed to collect 8 points after winning the challenge trophy.Shujaa had failed to make it to the cup quarters after managing a single win over Canada coupled with two losses; 17-12 to Argentina and 31-12 to England.
Enroute the Challenge trophy final where they claimed a hard fought 19-17 win over Australia,Kenya saw off Russia 24-5 and USA 19-12 in the quarterfinals and semi-finals respectively.
After Wellingtone,the side headed to Australia for the Sydney 7s where a lucklustre display saw them finish the tournament with a paltry two points.Innocent Simiyu’s charges managed a single win at the group stage over Japan, after losing their first two matches to England and South Africa in pool A.
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The side would then be relegated to the Challenge trophy for the second consecutive time, after doing so in Wellington.They would however be ousted from the challenge trophy courtesy of a 22-0 loss at the hands of Russia.The side then went ahead to defeat Scotland 19-7 before losing to Canada in the playoffs.The results ensured Kenya finished at 14th position in Sydney.
Shujaa bags Challenge trophy in Vegas
The third assignment of the year would take the Kenya 7s team to Las Vegas,a city believed to host some of the most loyal fans of the team.They would yet again bag 8 points following another Challenge trophy win.
In their USA sojourn,the side narrowly went down 24-17 to New Zealand’s All Blacks in their first pool match before sharing the spoils with Argentina courtesy of a 14-all stalemate.A 12-10 win over Russia would then grant them third spot in the pool after which they eliminated Chile and France before beating Samoa 21-14 to be crowned Challenge trophy champions.
Apart from clinching the Challenge trophy gong,Shujaa’s Billy Odhiambo emerged top in the DHL Rugby Performance Tracker with 55 tackles, 26 breaks, 19 offloads and 101 carries.Willy Ambaka was ranked fourth.
Shujaa then travelled to Canada for the Vancouver 7s where they were bundled out at the Challenge trophy semis,collecting 5 points in the process.The side had lost 14-28 to England and 5-15 to South Africa’s Blitzboks before edging out Chile 26-19 in pool stage matches. They would beat Scotland 19-17 in the Challenge trophy quarter finals but unfortunately their journey was cut short courtesy of a 26-7 loss to Samoa in the semis.
At the Vancouver 7s,English speedster Dan Norton drew level with Collins Injera as the HSBC World sevens series all time top scorer as both were tied at 244 tries.
The five points garnered at Vancouver dealt Innocent Simiyu’s charges a slight blow as they dropped off the World ladder,from 11th to 12th with 40 points.
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After Vancouver,Kenya 7s made the trip to Asia for the Hong Kong 7s where they failed to reach the main cup quarter finals after going down 14-17 and 10-35 to Canada and South Africa respectively.
Shujaa fail to defend Singapore title
The team would remain in Asia,this time doing duty at the Singapore 7s,a tournament which they were out to defend having won their first ever main cup title in the same country in 2016.
Kenya started their tournament defence campaign on a winning note by beating Argentina 22-7 before falling 29-7 to Australia.The side bounced back to defeat Samoa 17-7 in their decisive final group match to secure a quarterfinal berth where they would lose12-13 to England,being relegated to 5th place semi finals in the process.
New Zealand lay in wait for Innocent Simiyu’s charges in the 5th place semis,a clash which the All Blacks claimed a narrow 24-22 in a match which Kenya threw away a 14-5 halftime lead.
After Singapore,the 2016/17 HSBC World sevens series would reach its penultimate round with France’s Paris 7s taking centre stage.Shujaa lost 20-14 to hosts France in their first pool stage match before bouncing back to see off Spain 26-14.
A 12-all draw against England would ensure that the side finished third in the group stages, dropping to the Challenge Trophy where they lost 12-7 to Argentina in quarters before falling to Russia with a 15-7 loss in the 13th place semi finals.
The lucklustre perfomance in Paris saw Shujaa bag a single point after finishing 15th out of 16 teams.
The final leg of the 2016/17 season took place in London,as Shujaa sought to end what had been a rocky season for them on a high.After giving South Africa a run for their money in the first match where they lost 12-10,Shujaa would be condemned to a heavy defeat by hosts England,going down 47-0.
After failing to reach the cup quarters,Shujaa ended the season at 12th place just two spots above the relegation zone as South Africa won the overall title.
The side started off its 2017/18 season at the Dubai 7s where they made it to the cup quarters after seeing off Canada and Uganda before losing to South Africa in the semis.
Shujaa would be eliminated by New Zealand in the cup quarters after going down 12-10 before losing the 5th place semis to Australia,finishing the tournament at 7th place.
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One week later and Simiyu’s charges travelled to South Africa for the Cape Town 7s without the key duo of Collins Injera and Dennis Ombachi who had picked up injuries in Dubai.
Kenya failed to replicate the form that saw them reach the last eight in Dubai as they could only manage a single win against Russia in pool A after losing to France and South Africa.
Shujaa would finish the tournament at 13th spot after beating neighbours Uganda in the 13th place playoff.