Rugby Rugby

Bowl relief for Kenya

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INJERA-SAMOANAIROBI, Kenya, February 8 – Despite collecting eight points in Wellington after winning the Bowl competition on Saturday, Kenya head coach, Paul Treu, admits making the Rio 2016 Olympics will be a tough task for his team.

Kenya overcame Scotland 24-14 in the Bowl decider to salvage some pride from the fifth leg of the HSBC World Sevens after failing to make the Main Cup quarters for the second successive round on the opening day of action.

With the International Rugby Board releasing the qualification process for Rio 2016 Olympics, Treu concedes achieving his stated objective of sending Kenya to the biggest sporting carnival will not be a smooth ride.

“It is going to be tough, with Brazil as the host team, there are only 11 spots left, next year the series will be hotly contested but it will be exciting and it is all to play for.

“Most teams would like to finish in the top four and we would rather not go through the regional route. This is why we play this season and compete in 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series,” Treu stated.

“There isn’t going to be a bigger event than the Olympics and we all want to be a part of it. Every single team is going to go all out and make sure they are part of the spectacle,” he concluded.

“It was a disappointing day since this is not where we want to be. Two rounds in a row where we didn’t qualify for the Main Cup, but I think there are lessons for the players,” he added.

The head coach slammed his charges for making elementary mistakes in their Pool D campaign where they fell 24-12 to Samoa and 24-0 to Australia in their opening two fixtures to exit the Main Cup before salvaging a slot in the Bowl quarters by whipping Tonga 40-7.

“It is incredible to think of our error rate, we can’t play without the ball and sometimes we have it and give it straight away. I am glad we could finish the day on a high,” Treu said after clinching the Bowl competition.

Stand-in captain Collins Injera, was pleased with New Zealand performance though he said it was not their target.

“It feels good after our day one since it wasn’t quite what we wanted. We wanted three wins and we got them.

“It is different this year, we just need to keep adapting and ticking the boxes. We will come a long way if we achieve that and that’s why I’m in the team, I still have the strength and speed to do it.”

Treu’s charges came a stronger side in the Bowl competition, with an emphatic 34-0 win over Portugal in the quarters before edging out France 24-7 in the semi-finals.

Oscar Ayodi opened the scores for Kenya with a powerful run down at the left flank.

All-time Kenyan try scorer Injera, used his pace and strength to break through Scotland’s defence as he ran to touch down under a rained on pitch.

Darren Gillespie, finished a fine quick passing move running in on the angle to pull one back as Struan Dewer, replicates a minute later to restore parity for the  Scots.

With seconds to the breather, Injera backs his chip and charge for his second try as they led by a tight margin of 17-14 to half-time.

There was little to choose in the last half  with both sides remaining to be strong but as Scotland chased the game, they developed gaps that Kenya utilized well on the right flank, when Horace Otieno, finished with a brilliant move under the posts to give the former Blitzbokke tactician his first title with a 24-14 win over Scotland in the Bowl final.

To reach the finals, it took four minutes for play-maker Injera, to open the scores and going ahead to provide for Oscar Ouma, who sprinted on the left flank to give Treu the second try.

With minutes to half-time, Injera squeezed through to score under the posts to enjoy a 12-0 lead at the breather.

In the last half, Sikuta underlined Kenya’s strength by holding off two Portuguese for the fourth score.

It was a one-way traffic against a Portuguese side, as all-time try scorer, Injera enjoyed breaking through the defence to touch down his 174th career try, as Oscar Ayodi finished off with an impressive performance to send Kenya to the last four.

In the semis, Biko Adema collected a looping ball pass, to sprint 30 metres and score at the corner.

At the last minute he sends a risky pass inside to Sikuta, who goes under the posts for a 7-0 lead but France failed to take advantage of the slippery field as Ayodi gave Treu the second try for a 14-0 lead at half-time.

Ouma continued where he left, with his try that saw Adema miss the conversion but Sikuta sealed the win with his try after Adema missed the conversion.  Renaud Delmas scored a late try and conversion for France but there was little time for the them to level the scores.

Wellington 7s was the second round in a row as Treu failed to lead the side to Cup quarters despite carrying the most experienced squad for the fourth and fifth legs of the current HSBC Series in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas 7s.

Host New Zealand beat South Africa 21-0 to lift the Main Cup while Australia clinched the Plate after a narrow 12-10 win over Canada.

USA are the Shield champions following their 28-12 triumph over Spain.

Kenya still remains eight on the standings with 46 points, as All Blacks are back on the top with 99, two ahead of South Africa while are placed third with 73.

Treu, now goes back to the drawing board and hopes he collects his broken pieces ahead of the sixth round in Japan on the weekend of 22 and 23 March.

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