Shujaa Run Over Japan To Set Spain Challenge Trophy Semi In Las Vegas

Mar 03 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Kenya started Day 2 with a come-from behind 24-19 victory over Argentina in Pool B action before securing a 28-15 success over the Samurai

Kenya's Cyprian Kuto charges through the Japan defense on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas on 2 March, 2019. PHOTO/Mike Lee/KLC fotos for World Rugby

  • Paul Murunga's side overcame Argentina 24-19 in their last Pool B o finish third in the group following successive losses to host USA 7s (10-26) and France (7-31) to finish third
  • A loose Kenyan ball was pounced on by Bush Mwale who then stepped his defenders in their 5-meter mark to score their third try before a counter ruck resulted in Onyala landing his brace
  • Los Leones and Kenya will contest the the first Trophy semi-final while Scotland will clash with Chile in the second

NAIROBI, Kenya- A much-improved Kenya Shujaa will play Spain in the Challenge Trophy semi finals after dismissing Argentina and Japan in Day 2 of the Las Vegas 7s on Sunday.

Paul Murunga's side overcame Argentina 24-19 in their last Pool B o finish third in the group following successive losses to host USA 7s (10-26) and France (7-31) to finish third.

Against Japan in the second Challenge Trophy quarterfinal, Shujaa fell behind to a Siosifa Lisala's try- his second five-pointer of the tournament- where he showed his power at the Sam Boyd Stadium before recovering to complete a 28-15 success.

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Barely two minutes later, Cyprian Kuto scored Shujaa’s try with Taabu converting to give Kenya a 7-5 lead.

The Japanese responded with two tries through Naoki Motomura and Kameli Raravou Soejima, both conversions sailing wide. Japan having the upper hand at the breather as they lead 15-7. 

The second half was a full Kenyan show as Shujaa scored three tries. Vincent Onyala would race away from his defenders in the ninth minute to score under the posts.

A loose Kenyan ball was pounced on by Bush Mwale who then stepped his defenders in their 5-meter mark to score their third try before a counter ruck resulted in Onyala landing his brace.

Taabu added the extras with his boot, scoring all three conversions to award Shujaa a much needed victory over the Japanese with their fans at the Sam Boyd screaming 'Let's go Kenya, let's go. Let's go Kenya, let's go', when their side shifted through the gears to over come a struggling first half and turn around the contest.

Kenya will play Spain at 10:44pm local time (+3GMT) for the chance to make the Challenge Trophy final.

Elsewhere, New Zealand, USA, Samoa and Argentina secured the last-four places in the Main Cup competition of the fifth round of the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series, the Las Vegas 7s.

With the tournament taking place over three days, Sunday was a combination of the conclusion of the pool stage and the first of the knockout matches as the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals and Cup quarter-finals finished day two. 

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Half way point

This stop marks the halfway point on the World Series meaning that every point is vital, not only for the title race, but also in the chase for qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - the top four teams at the end of the series will gain automatic qualification.

Samoa are heading to their first Cup semi-final since 2016 and after captain David Afamasaga praised their belief and performance. 

"We had the self-belief that we could do it and it just showed out there in that last game," said Afamasaga. "Credit to Australia, they gave us a real good battle and that's what rugby is all about, fighting to the end. We definitely are looking forward to tomorrow. We're going to give it our all like we did today." 

The fiercely contested Cup quarter-finals give fans a stellar semi-final line-up on Sunday as the joint leaders on the World Series - New Zealand and USA - will face each other while Samoa and Argentina will meet in the second contest. 

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Fiji, South Africa, Australia and England will all compete in the fifth-place semi-finals from 12:28pm local time (GMT-8). 

Japan's Siosifa Lisala dives in a try against Kenya on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas on 2 March, 2019. PHOTO/Mike Lee/KLC fotos for World Rugby


In the Challenge Trophy, invitational side Chile, Spain, Kenya and Scotland all progressed into the semi-finals after wins over France, Wales, Japan and Canada.

Los Leones and Kenya will contest the the first Trophy semi-final while Scotland will clash with Chile in the second.

In the battle for 13th place, Wales will open proceedings against Japan followed by Canada versus France.

SHUJAA Las Vegas 7s scores

Pool B

26-10 USA

31-7 France

19-24 Argentina

Challenge Trophy quarters

15-28 Japan

Challenge trophy semis

Kenya vs Spain