Shu­jaa rule show

Kenya avenge last year’s loss to Sa­mu­rai with re­sound­ing vic­tory

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - BY WIL­LIAM NJUGUNA @mbote­s­ports

Shu­jaa ex­acted re­venge over Sa­mu­rai with a com­pre­hen­sive 38-21 vic­tory to win the Sa­fari Sev­ens tour­na­ment at the Kasarani Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

Sa­mu­rai, who pipped Kenya 2019 last year, fell be­hind when Frank Wanyama pounced on a loose ball to cross the line for an un­con­verted try and a 5-0 lead. Wanyama was on the mark a minute later when straight from the kick-off, he plucked the ball air­borne and raced away to score at the cen­tre with Brian Tanga kick­ing over the con­ver­sion for a 12-0.

Kenya were dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory with skip­per An­drew Amonde and Willy Am­baka dom­i­nat­ing the col­lu­sions against the vis­i­tors and it came as no sur­prise when Tanga re­acted quick­est to a loose pass to barge over the line and score an un­con­verted try and a 17-0 lead.

Sa­mu­rai looked shell-shocked and over­whelmed by the Shu­jaa phys­i­cal­ity.

They gained pos­ses­sion from kick-off and put to­gether a cou­ple of phases with which guest player Dan Sikuta pow­ered his way to the try line with Fran­cisco Her­nan­dez adding the con­ver­sion to re­duce the deficit to 17-7 at the in­ter­val.

On re­sump­tion, Sa­mu­rai came out firing with neat play be­tween Ig­na­cio Martins and Michael Fedo al­most bear­ing a try. From the re­sul­tant turnover, Amonde de­liv­ered a pin point pass to Leonard Mu­gaisi, who showed the Sa­mu­rai de­fence a clean pair of heels to touch down with Tanga con­vert­ing for a 24-7 score. Shu­jaa were smelling blood and Billy Od­hi­ambo touched down with Tanga con­vert­ing for a 31-7 lead.

Sa­mu­rai fought back im­me­di­ately with Dougie Fife touch­ing down and Her­nan­dex kick­ing over the con­ver­sion for 31-14 score. With time run­ning out, Sa­mu­rai made the score­line in­ter­est­ing with Michael Fedo scor­ing and Her­nan­dez drilling home the con­ver­sion for a 21-31 trail.

Am­baka then made the game safe for Kenya af­ter a su­perb break by Tanga to score at the cen­tre. Tanga con­verted to close out the match. Tanga was later named MVP of the tour­na­ment.

Skip­per Amonde said: “The boys played hard and Sa­mu­rai kept com­ing back so we had to dig deep in the sec­ond half to close out the win.”

Head coach Benjamin Ay­imba said: “We are never short of tal­ent. Look at Tanga, Aluda Beda and Gramwell Bun­yassi, they have im­pressed and done the coun­try proud.”

Kenya had beaten Western prov­ince 17-5 in the semis with Sa­mu­rai edg­ing past Eng­land Sax­ons 7-5.

/ENOS TECHE

Kenya shu­jaa lifts the tro­phy af­ter win­ning 2016 Sa­fari Sev­ens tour­na­ment at the Sa­fari­com Sta­dium, Kasarani yes­ter­day.

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