NAIROBI, Kenya, March 27 – Kenya threw a 14-0 half-time lead to go down 21-14, once again to former head coach Mike Friday’s USA in their opening Pool D fixture at the sixth round of Rugby Sevens World Series in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon.
Felix Ochieng’ charges began on a high with two quick first half tries through the country’s record try scorer Collins Injera who took his tally to 191 before skipper Andrew Amonde doubled the lead on the hooter to enable Friday’s men trail 14-0 at the break.
USA recovered in the second half to punish Kenya on the break down when they grounded three times through Maka Unufe, Carlin Isles and Danny Barrett to leave the Kenyans with a must win fixture against England on Saturday morning at 6:12am to revive their chances of reaching a second Main Cup quarter-final this season.
In the early kick-off, England beat Wales 26 -19 to join the Americans top of the group with three points apiece.
The loss saw Kenya fail to beat their 2011-2012 head coach, Friday for the third time this season, after going down 5-12 in Dubai and 5-33 at South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.
Ochieng who started veteran Humphrey Kayange on the bench took control of the first period, completing 19-0 passes before vice captain Injera who missed Las Vegas to welcome his second child returning with a bang in his central role when he burst from open space to give Kenya an early lead.
Shujaa almost conceded an easy try when Perry Baker intercepted Lavin Asego’s pass only for the American to waste the chance when he knocked the ball down for referee Anthony Moyes to restart the game.
Kenya had a great build up from the resultant scrum to finish a nine-phase try through Amonde, who received Patrice Agunda’s pass and ran inside the 22-metre line for his 27th career try.
USA showed great character when they resumed, locking out Kenyans run and ensure they didn’t add any try.
Maka Unufe pulled one back seconds after restart from a solo try before Carlin Isles restored parity three minutes when he picked the ball from the scrum to breakthrough inside his own half for his 50th career try.
Shujaa once again conceded a foul that enabled Danny Barrett run in on the right to go over for a successful conversion and give his side 24-21 lead as Kenya’s last-gasp effort to try and salvage a point went up in smoke.