Nairobi — National Sevens team Shujaa lost by fine margins in their opening match at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday morning, going down 19-14 to the USA.
Maddison Hughes scored the winning try for the USA with a last minute try, coming after Willy Ambaka’s dot down on the other end was chalked off by the TMO.
Shujaa had come from 12-0 down to lead 14-12, but will now have to seek a way back into the tournament with their next game against Ireland at 1pm today.
With less than a minute and a half left to play, Ambaka thought he had dotted down what would have been the game clinching tie for Shujaa when he raced behind the defense to pick out a Daniel Taabu kick.
However, upon advise from the TMO, the referee chalked off the try as Ambaka was adjudged to have knocked on the ball before going down under pressure from Matai Leuta’s tackle.
Shujaa had trailed 12-0 in the opening six minutes of the game, having not been able to leave their own half straight from kick off.
Carlin Isles dotted the opening try for the United States after Mike Friday’s side turned over possession when Herman Humwa was penalised. Off the rack, the USA spread the ball wide and Isles galloped his way into the try box. The conversion was wide.
Iosefo Martin then added USA’s second try of the game after another mistake from the Kenyans handed possession back to the Americans. Joe Schroeder carried the ball upfield, bulldozing his way close to the try line before offloading to Martin.
But, Shujaa pulled a try back just before halftime when Kenya picked possession straight from the restart. Nelson Oyoo made a daunting run on the left, pulling two defenders with him before offloading to Injera who strutted down the middle and went over the chalk.
Kenya trailed 12-7 at halftime, but there was surely hope they had the momentum and would bounce back.
They were 14-12 up just two minutes into the second half when Oluoch dotted down under the posts after Kenya turned over possession with Eden Agero having picked out his teammate with a little pass.
Shujaa will now take on South Africa in their second match at 1pm, a game that will be crucial to determine whether or not they make it into the Cup quarters.