Kenya: Morans' Title Swoop Hands Kenya Coach Feeney Big Selection Dilemma

21 October 2019

Kenya Morans' Safari Sevens victory now presents a big headache for head coach Paul Feeney ahead of selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers and 2019/20 World Rugby Sevens Series.

Morans, Kenya's second string side in the tournament, rolled out a tight defence to shock three-time World Rugby Seven Series champions South Africa Blitzebokke 19-14 and lift this year's Safari Sevens title yesterday at Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds.

It was an inspiring victory for Morans, who had lost 17-12 to South Africa in a Pool "A" outing on Saturday.

Kenya's top side Shujaa had to settle for bronze after they beat Russian Academy 19-5 in the play-off for third place.

Shujaa lost 19-5 to Blitzebokke in the semi-finals while Morans stopped Russian Academy 24-10.

"I named 12 players in Shujaa side and I have six more to add before the Olympic qualifiers and for sure it a tough call for me. It will be hard to pick a team in the three weeks I have," said Feeney. "I rather have a selection headache than not have one."

WORK HARD

Feeney said all those hoping to be selected will have to work hard to lift their game. "What pleases is that the players are motivated to make the team. "The great Mohammed Ali won his bouts not from what he did in the right but behind the scenes and that is training."

The New Zealander coach praised Morans for the victory and commended Shujaa for finishing third. "I now have good set of forwards with Jacob Ojee, William and Bush Mwale on Shujaa and Vincent Onyala, Alvin Otieno and Dan Sikuta on the Morans side."

Feeney said he will have to work on the team's line-outs, fitness and structured play ahead of the Africa Olympic qualifier scheduled for November 8 to 9 in South Africa.

Morans skipper Jeff Oluoch said they had to starve Bokke the ball because the South Africans were always dangerous when they had possession. "We made sure our big boys were running to dominate contact, which worked best for us," said Oluoch.

First half tries from skipper Jeff Oluoch, Geoffrey Okwatch and Alvin Otieno were enough for Morans, who led 19-0 at the break, to shock Blitzebokke. Johnstone Olindi made two conservations.

IN VAIN

South Africa, considered favourites, only got to break Morans tight defence in the second half with Mngadi Sandiso and Hufke Cameroon scoring.

But all was in vain as Morans recaptured the title they won last in 2000 for their second Cup success.

For many, the final could have come too early when Blitzebokke and Kenya Shujaa met in the semis where the visitors won 19-5 in a tense and tight affair.

Morans gave Russia Academy little time to breath to lead 19-0 at the break before winning 24-10 to set up the South Africans in the final.

Siviwe Soyizwapi drilled over two tries while Davids Selvyn contributed one try as South Africa stopped Shujaa's charge. Amonde scored Shujaa's only try.

Oluoch led from the front, scoring two tries as Johnstone Olindi and Vincent Onyala went for a try each to beat the Russians.

Shujaa, who last won the diadem in 2016, dug deep to silence defending champions Samurai 19-14 while Blitzebokke edged out Kenya Sevens champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 31-14 in the quarters.

Morans stopped French side Seventise 24-7 while Waisale Serevi's Russia Academy beat Red Wailers from United Kingdom 17-5.

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