PARIS, France, May 13- Kenya Sevens vice captain Collins Injera grounded twice, moving three tries close to equaling Argentinean Santiago Cora’s all-time top try scorer mark of 230 tries as Kenya came from 14-0 down to beat Portugal 29-14 in the opening game of the Paris Sevens in France on Friday night.
Shujaa came into the tournament as top seeds having won the last series in Singapore but they found themselves chasing the game after the Portuguese put down two converted tries.
Nuno Guedes grounded first after a daunting run through the middle and was partly aided with the collision of Sammy Oliech and Humphrey ‘Tall’ Kayange as they swung onto his direction in an attempt to cut down his run.
Portugal had commanded the game from kick off and they made it 14-0 through Aderito Estevas’ converted try.
The dreadlocked speed-star dived to the ground from the right after the Portuguese picked possession straight from the restart.
Injera dotted down his 226th World Series try with a minute left on the clock after putting up his trademark speedy run from the right.
Captain Andrew Amonde had picked the ball from the restart laying it off for his deputy to narrow down the lead.
Portugal came close to extending their lead at the buzzer but Sammy Oliech pulled a superb tackle to stop Esteves from his second try of the evening as he broke clear through the middle.
Kenya attempted to make it count after regaining possession but they failed to cut down the deficit before half time after Nelson Oyoo was adjudged to have picked a forward pass to burst through from Willy Ambaka’s lay off.
In the second half, Benjamin Ayimba’s pep talk seemed to work magic as Oliech reduced the deficit to only four points after dotting down on the right.
Ambaka picked up the ball from kick off before laying it up to Injera who managed to skillfully put through Oliech as Kenya straightened its comeback path.
Injera drew closer to Cora’s record with his 227th career try and he sure did it in superb fashion. The Mwamba RFC play maker tightly marked just inside the Portugal 22 pulled off a superb dummy to dance past his markers and sprinted to touch down under the posts. Oliech converted to take Kenya into a 17-14 lead.
From then on it was all Kenya as Ambaka dived into the try list with a superb run from the centre of the pitch after picking up the ball straight from a line out. Oliech stepped up to convert the try and get Kenya comfortable with a ten point gap at 24-14.
Kayange, the most experienced player on the pitch put the icing on the cake to cap off a wonderful comeback after sprinting past his markers from a lay off by his younger brother Injera.
Kenya will now play Russia in the next match on Sunday at 11:30am and a win will ensure they secure a place in the Main Cup Quarter final. Shujaa will wind up their group activity with a huge match against giants New Zealand at 3:03pm and a win will secure them top spot from the group.