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Kenya Sevens bounce back to World Rugby Series

In a show of bravado and pure resilience, Kenya Sevens Rugby team, Shujaa, made an emphatic return to the HSBC Rugby Sevens Series after downing Germany 33-15 in the promotion-relegation final that was played at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. Germany drew first blood over the Kenyans before Kenya captain Vincent Onyala struck almost immediately with co-captain Tony Omondi adding the extras to secure a 7-5 lead in the opening exchanges.

Shujaa were then sent to the bin via Christian Ojwnag and Germany hit back with a try with of their own. Ojwang made amends on his return to land Kenya’s second try putting the Kevin Wambua led team 12-10. Kenya run out 33-15 winner as they emphatically secured their return to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for the 2025 season. Shujaa braved a poor start in the first half to around their fortunes with good defense and open play.

Vincent Onyala, Chrisant Ojwang, John Okoth, George Ooro, and Kevin Wekesa bludgeoned through a try each as Anthony Mboya added the extras to send Kenya back to the series after a season in the cold. Chris Ueh had completed a good flow with a try on the left corner that went unconverted before Shujaa turned in the style as Onyala touched down. Mboya converted as Shujaa took charge 7-5.

Shujaa held on the Germans with a good defense, but Niklas Koch took advantage of a lapse to break into Kenya’s defense line to score for the Germans who now led 10-5. However, Ojwang returned with a bang, tearing through the wing after being put through by Samuel Asati to score and even Mboya missed to convert Kenya’s lead 12-10 at the break.

Onyala would latch on the kick-off loose ball to feed Okoth with a telling cross before he went flying through the poles to score. Mboya added the extras to stretch the lead to 19-10. There was some flash of brilliance from Germany, who had beaten Kenya twice in the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. Maximilian Heid brought them back into the game with a try to reduce the deficit at 19-15 only for Kenya to go loose and wild with the ball.

Substitute Brain Tanga set up Ooro from the maul to go flying between the posts as Wekesa collected a loose ball after the German defense fumbled with the ball to score. Mboya was good with his boots as the buzzer went to elicit celebrations from the players and Kenyan fans to bring back the memories from the 2016 Singapore Sevens where Kenya won the leg.

Sports Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ababu Namwamba gave an assurance that the government will invest heavily to ensure they remain in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Speaking in Madrid, Spain after witnessing the team qualify for the 2025 World Sevens Series, Namwamba was full of praised for Shujaa, and promised that the government will pump in more resources into ensuring they maintain their core status in the series. “We are now among the top 12 rugby 7s nations in the whole world, that means a lot and as a government we are going to be fully supportive. Just like we’ve supported this journey to this moment of big success, we will support them henceforth with similar vigor and even higher commitment of resources,” assured Namwamba.

We are going to reward them appropriately, and we want to prepare them properly. I’m glad we were able to prepare them very well for these play offs; trained in Miramas, France, got here in good time, all their allowances and everything was done in good time, and now we want to prepare them for the Olympics so they will be representing Kenya, they will be representing Africa at the Olympics in Paris; we want to make sure they are ready for the Olympics, we don’t go to the Olympics just to participate, we want them to go to the Olympics to compete for a podium finish

Namwamba
Kenya Sevens Rugby team, Shujaa, made a return to the HSBC Rugby Sevens Series after downing Germany 33-15 in the promotion-relegation final/Photo Getty

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