NAIROBI, Kenya, December 5 – Kenya will lock horns with South Africa at 12.44 p.m. Kenyan time after losing to New Zealand 17-14 in a nail biting Dubai Sevens main cup quarter final on Saturday morning.
Benjamin Ayimba’s side was trailing 12-0 at half time as they struggled to find a riposte to a physical Kiwi onslaught in the first period.
Kiwi speedster Sherwin Stowers opened the scoring in the second minute after his team were awarded a penalty when Kenya handled the ball in the ruck.
New Zealand playmaker Tomasi Cama took the tap penalty and unleashed Stowers who sprinted half the length of the field and left Sidney Ashioya for dead to touch down in the corner for a 5-0 lead.
Gordon Tietjen’s side were well aware of the danger posed by Kenya when they have the ball in their hands so they resorted to playing a tight game.
With Kenya on the backfoot, Cama went through a yawning gap in the red shirt defence and over the line but Collins Injera did well to hold him up.
From the resultant five metre scrum, New Zealand went left to Kurt Baker who stood up well in the tackle for the onrushing Zar Lawrence to bust through and score under the posts for the 12-0 lead.
Kenya were a different team at half time as they made the most of their possession.
They were awarded a penalty in their first attack and was quickly taken by Humphrey Kayange who passed to Victor Oduor who then linked with Lavin Asego to size up the stretched Kiwi defence and left Injera to do the rest for a 12-7 lead.
Innocent Simiyu who is having a good tournament was at the centre of his team’s second try.
With Kenya pinned on the try line, Asego made a sizzling break and off loaded to Simiyu in the tackle.
Simiyu held off a couple of tackles as he linked up with Kayange who was racing down the near touchline and score Kenya’s second try that was well converted for a 14-12 lead.
However, the Kiwi’s were not to be outdone as they stormed upfield through Onosai Auva’a who was brought down metres from the line by Ashioya and Injera.
Both were penalized for slowing the ball down and Cama and captain DJ Forbes combined to send Ben Souness over for the heartbreaking score.