Kenya Shujaa beat Germany 12-5 in a tough final to win the 23rd edition of Safari 7s rugby tournament at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday. Meanwhile, Kenya Lionesses successfully retained women’s title after emerging tops in the round-robin encounter.
Grace Adhiambo emerged top scorer with 66 points while Janet Okello scooped the Top Try and Most Valuable Player awards in the women category.
In the crunch men’s final, Shujaa were put ahead by crowd’s favourite Alvin ‘Buffa’ Otieno, who tore through the well-oiled German defence to score a try which was successfully converted by Levy Amunga to give the home side a 7-0 lead.
Germany reduced the deficit to 7-5 with an unconverted try from Jack Hunt before the break.
It was Johnstone Olindi, who gave the hosts victory with a last-minute unconverted try that sent the crowd at the stadium into delirium. “I thank the fans for turning up in large numbers to support the team,” Shujaa head coach Innocent Simiyu said. “Indeed, many players caught my eyes in the tournament, especially from the Red Wailers and Samurai International,” Simiyu added.
German tactician Darmian McGrath admitted Shujaa were a tough side, but lauded the professionalism that was used to organise the event.
On their way to the final, Shujaa edged defending champions Morans 19-17 in the semis while Germany beat Zimbabwe 31-14.
The Shujaa versus Morans tie was such a lively and entertaining match that left spectators on the edge of their seats. Otieno, who was the fans’ favourite, endeared many what with his antics.
Both sides displayed skills, tact and hard tackles that saw some players sent to the sin bin.
Shujaa player Archadius Khwesa was suffered several knocks that saws him leave on a stretcher.
“Rugby is a physical game, Khwesa’s injury was unfortunate.That’s not what we want to see in the sport,” Morans assistant coach Kevin Wambua said. “We wish the young man recovery.”
Wambua lauded Morans’ performance in the tournament saying they gave good account of themselves despite failing to defend the trophy. Morgan’s beat Red Wailers 12-5 to finish third.
“We haven’t trained together for a long time, but I’m glad we did the jersey proud. We had a slow start in the tournament, but eventually found our rhythm and were able to make it to the semis,” said Wambua.
“Losing to Shujaa in the semis by two points was a bit tough for the boys but it was a good game. I hope my young players caught the eyes of national team coach Innocent Simiyu with their brilliant displays,” said Wambua.
Main Cup Semis results
Kenya Shujaa 19 Kenya Morans 17
Germany 26. Red Wailers 7
3rd/4th place play-off
Kenya Morans 12 Vs Red Wailers 5
Kenya Shujaa 12 Germany 5