NAIROBI, KENYA, May 22 – The national sevens team finished seventh overall in the 2015-16 HSBC Sevens World Series on 98 points after collecting three points at the last leg in London, following their 31-7 victory over Russia in the Shield final on Sunday.
It was a tremendous improvement for Shujaa contrast to last season where they were fighting relegation to finish in a disappointing 13th position on 46 points.
“It’s something we can take home and say we finished well, we started the season on a low, picking up in the middle so we will plan for the future ahead of the Olympics.
“It was an important win at Singapore Sevens because we have been waiting it for long and for it to finally come home, it was a dream come true, and it’s a motivation for us to keep on working hard because there are more to be won,” Kenya 7s captain Andrew Amonde said after the Russia match.
Kenya had a chance to harvest 100 points overall in the standings after having a good season but Wales denied them the chance thanks to their narrow 21-19 win in the Bowl quarter-final.
However, despite not surpassing Mike Friday’s 99 points, the most Kenya has ever collected in a series, head coach Benjamin Ayimba will walk with his head high after guiding Shujaa to their maiden Main Cup title at Singapore Sevens.
Vice captain Collins Injera also left a mark in the series as he scored eight tries in London to break Santiago Gomez Cora’s record and become the all-time leading world try scorer with 235.
“It’s a mixed emotion, on a personal level I managed to attain the goal that I had set when I started playing rugby. I think as a team we have found ourselves in quite difficult situations but I’m glad we managed to finish on a positive heading to the Olympics.
“I think after I broke the record there was a relax mode in the team and now we just wanted to play rugby and coming today it worked well for us and we just keep working on it moving forward to Olympics,” Injera underscored.
In the Shield final, it was one way traffic for Kenya as they maintained their dominance over Russia, winning four in the five times they have met this season.
Willy Ambaka drew first blood when he danced his way through the Russian defence for the opening try.
Russia were unable to contain the pressure to see Denis Simplikevich receive a yellow card for kicking the ball away for Injera to pounce on it and score Kenya’s second try.
Nelson Oyoo claimed the third before the moment for Injera came for his 235th career series try to put Shujaa firmly in control 26-0 at the break.
Even though the damage had already been done, Ramil Gaysin scored his first series try when the Russian playmaker broke through the middle, throwing a dummy to no-one, and backing himself to go over.
The try woke Kenya up again as Oyoo grabbed his second to end any hopes of a Russian comeback.
Kenya will now shift attention to Rio Olympic Games in Brazil where the shorter version of the game will be making its debut.