NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12- A Willy Ambaka hat-trick was not enough to prevent the national rugby sevens team from losing the London 7s third place play-off, 19-26 to England but the side bowed out with pride by completing the season on 99 points, her highest ever HSBC World Series haul.
Christian Lewis-Platt also notched a hat-trick to put England in charge before Kenya’s late rally just fell short with Mike Ellery’s two tries in the space of 30 seconds fired the hosts to a 26-7 ahead.
Overall series champions New Zealand who recovered from 17-0 at half time down to upset Kenya on Saturday once again proved to be the nadir of Mike Friday’s gallant soldiers when they scored the only converted try in their 7-0 win in the Main Cup semis.
However, Shujaa, as the team is otherwise known can sit back and welcome all the plaudits that will come their way after a record breaking season under the Englishman who has revitalised the only amateur side in the HSBC World Series.
“We have played two and a half good games of rugby. Those seven minutes against New Zealand was a horror show. They are ruthless and put us to the sword in the second half. Good to be in the Cup though, that is the main thing,”
Friday said after his side made the Main Cup quarters after blanking Canada 38-12 to atone their loss at the penultimate leg in Scotland.
Kenya made history during the Main Cup semis when they recorded a first ever victory over Fiji in the World Series courtesy of a disciplined 20-7 win to earn a replay against the All Blacks.
The impact of the recalled icon of Kenyan Sevens Humphrey Kayange was telling in another storming campaign for Friday’s side.
He sealed the memorable win over Fiji when Oscar Ouma broke through and offloaded the ball to the man known as ‘Tall’ to touch down for 20-0 before the sevens giants scored a consolation.
“Great win, we haven’t beaten Fiji in the Series so this was really special for us. We are now psyched up for the match with New Zealand.” Kayange said after the match.
Ouma had earlier scored a stunning individual effort after dummying and racing on the outside and his pace was too much to handle as Kenya went 15-0 up adding to his first half try. Willy Ambaka was the other to go over.