NAIROBI, Kenya, February 16 – The national sevens rugby team head in to next month’s Rugby World Cup Sevens with 24 points after reaching the plate final of the International Rugby Board (IRB) San Diego sevens early Monday morning.Kenya were victims of a New Zealand backlash losing 22-7 to the Kiwis hours after they thrashed the defending series champions and world cup favourites 24-7 in one of the biggest upset in the IRB series’ history and saw them top their pool for the second week in a row.
Earlier, Benjamin Ayimba’s side lost to hosts United States 14-7 in the main cup quarter final but followed it up with another thrilling 17-12 win over Samoa who lost to eventual tournament winners Argentina in the same stage of the tournament.
Collins Injera continued to impose himself in the series by dotting down four times over the weekend and the leg’s fifth top points scorer with 20.
Kenya who are scheduled to arrive back home on Tuesday night will take some positives from the tour from which they collected 18 points and two major scalps of rugby union’s dominant superpowers.
The epic comeback in the 22-17 win over South Africa in Wellington a fortnight ago and the surprising emphatic win over New Zealand who are coached by legendary sevens tactician Gordon Tietjens will go down as one of the greatest chapters in Kenya’s rugby history.
Speaking on Capital Radio’s breakfast show, Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) chairman Richard Omwela was delighted with the team’s performance over the weekend.
“We are absolutely proud of the boys especially given the scenario under which they operate so we are very proud of them,” said Omwela.
Omwela also expressed confidence that the team can replicate their form on tour in the World Cup.
“As soon as the team arrives, we want to put the arrangements into top gear because we now realize that what was once a dream is now achievable in terms of what we want to achieve in the World Cup,” said Omwela.
Kenya is Pool E of the World Cup with England, Tunisia and Hong Kong and are highly favoured to reach the main cup quarters of the tournament which will run from March 5-7.
With immense depth at his disposal, Ayimba and his technical bench which includes assistant coach Felix Ochieng and team manager Oscar Osir have an unenviable task of coming up with the final 12 for sevens’ showpiece event.
Kenya 7- 22 New Zealand (Plate Final)
Kenya 17-12 Samoa (Plate semi)
Kenya 7-USA 14 (Main quarter)
Kenya 24- 7 New Zealand
Kenya 33-0 France
Kenya 12-14 Uruguay