NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – The national sevens team bowed out of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Wellington tourney after a comprehensive 26-0 defeat to England in the main cup semi final on Saturday.
An Ollie Phillips hat trick condemned Kenya to their second defeat of the tournament, as England gained vengeance for their last three defeats to the Safari Sevens champions and a spot in the main cup final.
Kenya now has 18 points and are sixth on the IRB Sevens standings, going into next weekend’s IRB leg in San Diego.
Benjamin Ayimba’s side, which beat Wales 10-7 earlier in the main quarters began the match full of venom as they pinned England in their own half with a resolute defence that has characterised their performance in this tournament.
Kenya was close to scoring after two minutes when Captain Humphrey Kayange stretched the English defence with a diagonal run only to be rewarded with a penalty after an intentional knock on from England’s Isoa Damu.
Lavin Asego had a chance to put Kenya ahead midway through the first half after England lost control of the ball on their own try line, but the Mwamba fly-half failed to hold on to the loose ball with the line begging.
Gibson Weru was penalised at the resultant scrum for another intentional knock on, after England won the scrum against the head, which proved to be the turning point of the match.
England kicked for touch and launched their first attack from a lineout deep inside Kenyan territory.
The Red Rose Army’s siege on the Kenyan line finally paid off when Phillips strolled over for his first try that was converted by veteran Ben Gollings for a 7-0 lead going into half time.
Biko Adema failed to collect the ball at the start of the second half to the benefit of England, who immediately picked up where they left off in the first half.
Phillips scored a gem of a try with a chip and chase over the head of Collins Injera and calmly grounded the ball to make the scores 12-0.
England began to tighten their grip on the match with Phillips making a mockery of Kenya’s tackling to stretch over for his third try, and Chris Cracknell added the trimmings to end Kenya’s run in the tournament.
Kenya reached the quarters after an epic 22-17 win over South Africa on Friday, which saw them top Pool A.