Much-improved Kenya Sevens fall to Fiji in Dubai

Henry Hutchison (right) of Australia tackles Kevin Wekesa of Kenya during their match in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 in the Gulf emirate of Dubai, on December 2, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Karim Sahib | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Shujaa took an impressive 17-7 lead at the break before the Fijians rallied in the second session as Pilipo Bukayaro landed the winning try with less than two minutes left to break Kenyans hearts.

Kenya Sevens once again squandered a huge lead to lose to double Olympic champion Fiji 21-17 in the Challenge Trophy semi-finals at the Dubai Sevens on Saturday.

Shujaa took an impressive 17-7 lead at the break before the Fijians rallied in the second session as Pilipo Bukayaro landed the winning try with less than two minutes left to break Kenyans hearts.

However, it was an improved performance from Shujaa, who had finished last with one point at the previous leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong.

Shujaa collected five points to finish 11th in Dubai as they look forward to the third leg of the Series in Cape Town next weekend.

Jeremaia Matana put the Fijians ahead with a try that Filipe Sauturaga converted but the Kenyans went loose, Kevin Wekesa, Denis Abukuse and skipper Nelson Oyoo landing a try each.

Antony Omondi managed one conversion as Shujaa stormed to a 17-7 lea at the break.

It ended as a game of two halves with Waisea Nacuqu and Bukayaro responded for Fiji with tries as Waisea Nacuqu added the extras to put the match to rest.

Fiji will meet Uruguay in the Challenge Trophy final also known as the ninth place final.

Ireland, who bundled out Argentina 19-14 in the quarterfinals, matched on to stop Mike Friday’s United States 12-7 to reach the final. It was the US who silenced Australia, who are fresh from  winning Hong Kong Sevens, 24-19 in the Cup quarters.

The Irish will meet defending champions South Africa, who beat New Zealand 26-19, having trailed 12-0 at the break.

Muller du Plessis, Ricardo James Duarttee, Branco du Preez and Shilton van Wyk led South Africa’s resurgence with a try each. 

Ricardo James Duarttee made two conversions with Branco du Preez going for one to land the much-improved Blitzebokke in the final.

South Africa had finished eighth at the Hong Kong Sevens. 

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