Shujaa topple champions Samurai for Safari 7s glory

Kenya Shujaa players celebrate winning the 2016 Safari 7s edition at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. ...
Kenya Shujaa players celebrate winning the 2016 Safari 7s edition at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on September 25, 2016. Kenya beat Samurai 38-21 in the finals. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

The national rugby sevens team Shujaa reclaimed the Safari 7s Main Cup title by beating Samurai 38 – 21 in an pulsating final at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

Kenya beat the 2015 champions in a low-key event as fans kept away from the venue by completely outclassing the select side comprising of players drawn from Europe and a sprinkling of locals.

Shujaa faced Samurai in a repeat of the 2015 edition where the tourists edged the hosts by a point with the home team targeting to clinch the title they last won in 2013 at the same stadium.

Two minutes into the game, Frank Wanyama spotted a gap in the Samurai defence to put the hosts on the front foot but Brian Tanga missed the resultant conversion for 5-0.

Moments after the kick off, Wanyama got his brace after he capitalized on a lapse in concentration to stretch the advantage to 12-0 in favour of Shujaa as Samurai struggled to settle into the game.

Samurai found their rhythm momentarily but Kenya scored on the counter after capitalizing on a loose ball with Tanga showing a clean pair of heels for 17 – 0 advantage a minute to the end of the first half.

Dan Sikuta, who was featuring for Samurai, displayed his power, bundling over the try line to reduce the deficit to 10 points as they went in for the breather 17-7.

In the second half, Shujaa picked up from where they left off as Leonard Mugaisi and Billy Odhiambo converted Samurai’s mistakes to points as they each scored on the counter.

The champions clawed their way back with two tries by Dougie Fife and Michael Fedo and the deficit was once again reduced to 10.

Their slim hopes of a fight back were however, completely quashed when Tanga who was crowned the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and the orchestrator of a majority of Kenya’s points put the match beyond reach.

He fittingly crossed the whitewash for Kenya’s sixth and final try by showing a blistering display of guile and pace to ground the ball.

Western Province who lost in the semi finals to Shujaa won the third and fourth place play-off by beating the England Saxons 36 – 7 while the Cape Warriors from South Africa edged English side the Red Wailers 33 – 7 for the Plate honours.

National series champions Homeboyz RFC won the Bowl trophy.

Shujaa therefore, atoned for the loss of the Africa 7s Cup by their compatriots and Kenya’s second team, Moran on Saturday after they were stunned by eventual winners, Uganda 7s in the semis.

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Story By Bernard Ndong
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