Kenyan sides Shujaa and Morans settled for silver and bronze in the 21st edition of the Safari Sevens international rugby tournament as Samurai walked away with the title at the RFUEA grounds yesterday.
Shujaa lost 21-14 to last season’s runners-up and former champions Samurai international in a heated Cup final while Morans beat Portugal 12-5 in the third-place playoffs.
Samurai won the match courtesy of three converted tries from Ruan Mostert, Hugo Stiels and the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kurt-Lee Arendse with Van Niekerk Angus and Augustine Lugonzo successfully converting.
Shujaa’s scored courtesy of winger Daniel Taabu and Johnstone Oloindi’s converted tries, all scored in the first half and head coach Paul Murunga—who was in charge of Kenya’s two teams—was pleased by his sides’ display.
“Having prepared a team for two weeks now, I am pleased with the second and third finish performances. This shows we have a good depth to build for the near future,” said Murunga.
Murunga’s sentiments were echoed by Shujaa skipper Eden Agero who sees the result as a success despite losing the title to Samurai whom they beat 38-21 in 2016 for the title.
“It is a success for us because this tournament acts as a platform to prepare for the World HSBC Sevens Series. The result is not what we wanted but we cannot beat ourselves over it. This is a learning curve and it is exciting to see some players play in their first international tournament and push it to the final,” said Agero.
Ruan Mostert drew first blood for the visitors in the fourth minute but the 7-0 lead was levelled two minutes later off a quick play by experienced winger Leonard Mugaisi who offloaded the ball to skipper Agero for the touchdown.
Shujaa, through Alvin Otieno, would later overturn Samurai’s forward Frank Wanyama’s rack, inches away from their try line to run the ball deep where fly half Johnstone Olindi picked a loose ball to score under the posts for a 14-7 half-time lead.
Kenya will now continue their preparations for Dubai Sevens, the opening leg of the World Series that kicks-off in two weeks where they have Fiji, France and Scotland in Pool B.