Brave Shujaa Downed By Late France Fightback In Paris 7s

Jun 02 - by Louis Kalinga for SportPesa News

Despite the defeat, Kenya will return home relieved they managed to save their HSBC World Series Core Status on the final round of the season after finishing above Wales and Japan

Kenya's Andrew Amonde runs in a try against South Africa on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris on 1 June, 2019. PHOTO: Mike Lee /KLC fotos for World Rugby

  • A brave fight by the Kenyans who came in to the last leg of the 2018/19 season battling to retain their Core Status saw them take a deserved 14-7 halftime lead before France completed the turnaround in sudden death
  • Japan then lost their last pool game to Scotland securing Kenya's Core Status before the start of Day 2 in Paris and from then on, the young Shujaa side was only playing for pride
  • The freshly crowned series winners kept their foot firmly on the gas as the HSBC Player of the Final Bolaca accumulated 18 of their 28 first-half points

PARIS, France- Kenya Shujaa fell 26-21 to hosts France in the fifth-place semifinals of the Paris 7s on Sunday afternoon to cap an encouraging outing where they beat off the threat of relegation from the HSBC World Sevens Series on the final round of the season.

A brave fight by the Kenyans who came in to the last leg of the 2018/19 season battling to retain their Core Status saw them take a deserved 14-7 halftime lead before France completed the turnaround in sudden death.

Despite the loss, Shujaa finished the season 13th on 37 points, above Wales (31) and Japan (27) who occupied the last relegation slot in the HSBC World Sevens in what came as a huge relief for the Paul Murunga's side who reached their first Main Cup quarters of the season to increase hope on Saturday.

Japan then lost their last pool game to Scotland securing Kenya's Core Status before the start of Day 2 in Paris and from then on, the young Shujaa side was only playing for pride. 

They fell to USA 7s in the quarters to book a date against France in the fifth-place semis where Nelson Oyoo bagged a brace of tries in the opening half to give Kenya a 14-7 lead at the break but France bounced back in the second half.

MUST READ: Mosha Strikes As Bandari Depose Sharks From SportPesa Shield Throne

The hosts scored a last minute try through Manoel after Cyprian Kuto crossed the chalk for Shujaa, the conversion good from Michael Wanjala.

By the full time whistle, the game was level at 21 a-piece, forcing the tie to go into extra time where France eventually won 26-21.

Earlier in the day, despite taking a 14-5 lead at halftime against Mike Friday’s USA in the last eight, Kenya could not hang on for the win.

READ ALSO: Neymar: I Did Not Rape That Woman In Paris, It's A Trap

The Americans ensured their opponents did not score in the second half and romped to a 26-14 triumph.

Fiji then beat the former Shujaa head coach's side in the cup semis to be crowned the 2018/19 HSBC Series champions before beating New Zealand in the Paris 7s final to bag their fifth win of the campaign.

Gareth Baber’s outfit, who went into this last stop of the series two points ahead of the USA, marched on to cap their series-clinching day with the tournament victory after beating New Zealand 35-24 in the Cup final.  

After losing their last two Cup finals on French soil, against France in 2005 and Samoa in 2016, Fiji scored their first points in this year’s final after just 30 seconds. Napolioni Bolaca’s try was converted before Meli Derenalagi quickly added another.

The freshly crowned series winners kept their foot firmly on the gas as the HSBC Player of the Final Bolaca accumulated 18 of their 28 first-half points.

MUST READ: SportPesa News Transfer Juice: Chelsea Eye Coutinho To Replace Hazard, Ozil On Sale

With a 28-7 lead, they plumped their cushion further before New Zealand's response arrived.

Regan Ware crossed twice for the All Blacks Sevens and Dylan Collier added another try to produce the final 35-24 scoreline. 

"Last year we came here and we were further in front but we did not have the wherewithal to finish it off. That was quite painful," said head coach Baber, who received the UL Mark of Excellence after the Cup final for the season’s work.