Kenya Sevens on Sunday bowed out as runners-up of the 2018 Rugby Africa Sevens Cup after succumbing to an unexpected 17-5 loss to Zimbabwe in the final staged at the Jemmal Stadium in Monatsir, Tunisia.
The result provided a bitter end for Kenya’s Shujaa, who had been impressive in the run up to the final, and throughout the two-day competition.
Defending champions Uganda finished third after they beat Madagascar 24-19 in extra time in the third place playoffs.
In the final, Kenya Sevens fell behind after five minutes courtesy of a converted try from Shingirai Katsvere.
Shujaa, who took time to settle, then responded with an unconverted try from Brian Wahinya after an interchange with Cyprian Kuto at the stroke of half time.
The conversion was however unsuccessful and the Shujaas still found themselves trailing 7-5 at the break.
In the second half, Kenya were unable to build on their momentum and their defence appeared to suffer under the incredible pace of Zimbabwe’s Tafadzwa Chitokwindo.
Chitokwindo combined brilliantly with Takudzwa Kumadiro for the Cheetahs’ second try, before the former added another try a minute to the final whistle thereby burying any hopes of a comeback from Kenya.
To get to the final, Shujaa had thrashed Madagascar 36-5 in the semi-final as Zimbabwe came from behind to defeat Uganda 24-19 after extra time.
Leonard Mugaisi was Kenya’s star player against the islanders and accounted for three tries – two in the first half and the one in the second period.
Eliakim Kichoi and Derrick Kyeoga added to Mugaisi’s double tries, while Gramwell Bunyasi also got his name among the try scorers as Shujaa led Madagascar 24-0 at half time.
The islanders however scored one try deep in the second half but this only proved to be a mere consolation.
Earlier, Kenya had stormed the competition’s last four with a 33-7 win over Zambia in day two of the competition.
Kenya scored five tries; a brace from Daniel Taabu, and one apiece from Cyprian Kuto, Leonard Mugaisi and Eliakim Kichoi. Kenya were up 12-0 at the breather.
In the group stages, Kenya Sevens prevailed over their opponents without conceding a single try, as they crushed Botswana 49-0 and Morocco 41-0.
Zambia lost 19-12 to Madagascar but elbowed out Namibia 28-7 to settle for second place. Madagascar therefore finished top of pool A on an unbeaten record after piping Namibia 24-19 and whacking Botswana 24-0.
Uganda had crushed Ghana 45-0 and Senegal 31-0 respectively to top Pool “B”