NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4 – The national sevens rugby team registered its second consecutive win over IRB series leaders South Africa to finish top of Pool D of the Adelaide Sevens tournament at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.Kenya edged out the Springboks 15-14 in the last Pool D match of an African derby to add on to their 22-17 win in Wellington in February.
Doubts had been cast on the seven-a-side team after struggling to beat Japan 12-7 on the opening day. “It is easy to say things when the team is playing. I had warned this was going to be a very tricky Pool. Japan is quite a good side and Cook Islands cannot be underrated,” coach Benjamin Ayimba said.
With two wins, Kenya could afford to ease their foot off the gas pedal but that was not in the minds of a fired seven-a-side team which is captained by Humphrey Kayange.
“We wanted to complete the job. South Africa had looked impressive in their first two matches conceding only seven points. They could have been overconfident but this was a game where everybody put their body on the line and look at the result,” the former Mwamba captain said.
South Africa had a dream start when Frankie Horne scored a try for and Renfred Dazel converted for an early 7-0 lead. But, Kenya immediately responded scoring two tries to lead 10-7 at half time.
On resumption, South Africa regained the lead when Ryno Benjamin went over and Dazel converted for the lead to change hands 10-14. They lost two players to the sin bin and paid for it when Victor Oduor who has a knack for scoring crucial tries barged over to give Kenya the win.
The try scorer took it in stride. “We had a job to do here and that was winning our pool matches. I scored because of great team work but the hardest part is on Sunday when we have three tough matches,” he said.
Kenya’s assistant coach Felix Ochieng could not hide his joy explaining the win was a culmination of hard work by the players who sacrifice a lot.
Back at home, the Kenya Rugby Football Union chairman Richad Omwela was equally proud of a team which has jelled at the right moment. “This is a team to be proud of. Since Dubai, we have been lucky to stay consistent and with no injuries, the team would go places,” he said.
Earlier, Collins Injera scored twice while Innocent Simiyu, Ashioya and Alan Onyango added one each as Kenya defeated Cook Islands 27-0. South Africa defeated Japan 43-0.
Those who hope to catch Kenya’s match against Wales must be awake early. Action starts with the Bowl quarters from 3.08 am with Kenya’s match scheduled for 4.58 am on SuperSport 1.
Pool A: England, Samoa, Australia, Portugal.
Pool B: Argentina, Fiji, France, Scotland.
Pool C: New Zealand USA, Wales, Tonga.
Pool D: South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands, Japan.
Pool A: Samoa 26 Portugal 5, England 17 Australia 21, England 29 Portugal 0, Samoa 19 Australia 26, Australia 31 Portugal 5, England 24 Samoa 24
Pool B: Fiji 33 Scotland 7, Argentina 14 France 7, Argentina 12 Scotland 7, Fiji 21 France 10, France 24 Scotland 12, Argentina 21 Fiji 26.
Pool C: USA 17 Tonga 14, New Zealand 24 Wales 10, New Zealand 33 Tonga 0, USA 17 Wales 24, Wales 19 Tonga 26, New Zealand 27 USA 5.
Pool D: Kenya 12 Japan 7, South Africa 28 Cook Islands 7, South Africa 43 Japan 0, Kenya 27 Cook Islands 0, Cook Islands 12 Japan 20, South Africa 14 Kenya 15.
Order of play, Sunday, April 5
Bowl quarter final: Samoa v Scotland (3.08), Japan v Tonga (3.30), USA v Cook Islands (3.52), France v Portugal (4.14).
Cup quarter finals: Australia v Argentina (4.36), Kenya v Wales (4.58), New Zealand v South Africa (5.20), Fiji v England (5.22).