DUBAI, March 6 – The national sevens rugby team made history by reaching the main cup quarterfinals of the rugby World Cup in Dubai on Friday evening.
Typically, Kenya did it the hard way qualifying as one of the two best runners up teams despite losing 26-7 to England in their final Group E match. They sneaked through the back door by virtue of having the best points’ difference of all the second placed teams in the group.
They will now meet World Champions Fiji in the main cup quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. Kenya could not have wished for a tougher draw as the reigning cup holders are the only team that Kenya has not beaten on the IRB circuit.
Coach Benjamin Ayimba was thrilled with finally making it past the preliminary stages at the third time of asking.
“It’s a huge achievement. It was never going to be easy. I am very happy that we have qualified and that the boys have stayed positive and have made it through,” he said.
He however admitted that England had simply been too good for them, “England simply came really too fired up for us and we did not step up. They locked us out especially denying Lavin any time on the ball as well as Kayange and Injera,” admitted Injera.”
He however remains confident that his world cup dream is still alive despite having to face Fiji in the main cup quarters.
“The dream for the World cup lives on. Getting to the quarters was the first job. Now it’s done so tomorrow we look at making semis. We are three games away from winning it,” he observed.
Kenya was simply not at the races against England conceding the first try to Kevin Barrett. Skipper Humphrey Kayange briefly raise Kenya’s hope with a powerful solo effort but two tries by Isoa Damu and one each by Tom Varndell and Ollie Phillips saw the three lions home.
Earlier Kenya had whitewashed Hong Kong 43-7 on pitch to add onto Thursday’s 29-7 beating of Tunisia.