Shujaa set for revenge mission against Ireland in final Olympic match

Revenge is a dish best served cold

CHOFU, JAPAN - JULY 26: Team Kenya take to the field during the Men's Pool C Rugby Sevens match between South Africa and Kenya on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on July 26, 2021 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The Kenya sevens rugby team will be motivated by revenge as the Innocent "Namcos" Simiyu side face Ireland for a place in the ninth-place final.

After securing their first win of the tournament with a comfortable 21-7 victory against Japan, Shujaa will turn their attention to Ireland and the chance to resolve some unfinished business.

In similar fashion to the group games, Kenya started poorly as a brilliant play by the Japanese led to their captain Chihito Matsui scoring a try only a minute 55 seconds into the match.

The try brought out the best in Shujaa as two minutes later, Alvin Otieno zoomed past the home side to score his first try of the tournament.

After Johnstone Olindi's successful conversion, Kenyans applied more pressure and settled onto the game which resulted in a second try by Jeff Oluoch a minute before half time.

In the second half, Kenya continued to prey on the Japanese nerves, turning the ball over and knocking it on throughout the half.

Kenya's defensive dominance and counter attack saw them clinch victory through a try in the dying stages of the game by Captain fantastic, Andrew Amonde.

The towering forward bulldozed past the Japanese sprinting more than 50 metres to snatch a final showdown against Ireland.

Revenge mission

The Irish in the early hours of Tuesday morning denied Kenya an opportunity to progress to the quarter-final by inflicting a 12-7 defeat.

After successive losses against United States and South Africa on the opening day, Kenya just needed to beat Ireland by whichever margin to go through to the quarters as one of the best two third placed teams.

A fine piece of skill from Terry Kennedy opened a gap for Hugo Lennox who drove for the line and scored the opening try, although the conversion was missed.

Just over a minute later and Ireland had their second try of the match, with Harry McNulty capitalising on a Kenyan handling error and going over, before Billy Dardis added the extras.

Ireland were in complete control in the first-half, penning Kenya back inside our own half and forcing us into making some very uncharacteristic errors.

Jordan Conroy had a decent chance to add to Ireland's tally early in the second-half but was unable to make the most of it as a fine tip-tackle halted his run with the line beckoning and his pass was intercepted.

As the clock ticked down, just like the previous two games against USA and South Africa, Shujaa stood tall and showed their might.

A crooked Irish line-out throw in their own half gave Kenya a scrum with a minute left on the clock and from that scrum, they split the Irish defence for Vincent Onyala to touch down under the posts.

Daniel Taabu kicked the conversion with less than 30 seconds to go but it was too little too late.

After the game, captain Amonde expressed his disappointment for not being able to lead his team to a first ever Olympic medal.

“For some of us this was our last tournament and we really wanted to lead the boys to the final, but I am disappointed I was not able to do that even as I bid farewell to the national team,” he said.

“We really wanted to make it to the next stage of the competition but we couldn’t. We knew it was going to be a tough pool and we now have to pick ourselves up for the next thing,” said Collins Injera.

Coach Innocent Simiyu explained the loss boils down to the young Shujaa team not taking their chances as well as poor build up towards the tournament.

“We did not do well in the restarts and also in the scrums and went more into contact instead of looking for space.

“However we also have to accept the fact that we just started preparation only the other day for the Olympics while the other teams have had up to four years building up for this,” Simiyu said.

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