NAIROBI, Kenya, March 31 – Kenya 7s squad returns Tuesday from their tours of Japan and Hong Kong with only the Shield to show from the latter as once again the Main Cup dream proved to be a barrier too far.
Despite the dross, vice-captain Collins Injera, marked a personal milestone in Hong Kong when he cemented his position as the third all time leading try scorer in the World Series when he notched his 183rd career touch down.
Paul Treu’s side ended their Hong Kong 7s charge with three points in what ranks as his worst performance since he took charge of the squad following a 17-10 victory over Portugal on Sunday.
Scotland beat Shujaa 26-12 in the Bowl quarters to force the South African to line-up his charges for the Shield competition for the first time this season.
A 10-7 loss to Wales and 43-5 mauling to defending champions Fiji in Pool A on Saturday was enough to end Kenya’s dream of making it a fifth Cup quarters this season.
Speaking to Capital Sport from Hong Kong, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss, Mwangi Muthee said the team would fire next season when the players get more used to Treu’s methods.
However, the highest paid coach in the country is yet to lead the team to the Main Cup semis this season with the Scotland and London legs left to complete the HSBC World Series.
“His mission is to build a team for 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and that is well on track and we expect the side to do well next season. This one was a learning process for Treu and the team,” Muthee enthused.
Against Portugal, Oscar Ouma opened the scores after breaking through the backs tackle to stretch his hands and pound the ball down over the try line.
Vice captain Collins Injera who provided, the opener was rewarded for his industrious work soon after beating the Portugese defence to scrum down for his 182nd World Series career try.
However, Portugal hit back on the stroke of half-time as Duarte Moreira ignited the burners and sprinted up field for a solo try as Kenya led 10-5 at the interval.
On resumption Injera powered a tackle on the half-way line in the fourth minute for his 183rd try, consolidating his place in third on the all-time leading scorers’ list.
A late burst from Aderito Estevez reduced the deficit to seven but it was not enough as Injera accurately booted the ball into touch on the hooter to seal Kenya’s 17-10 victory and the Shield.
In the semis, Spain broke the deadlock after racking up 14 passes on their way to the opening try through Pablo Fontes that Francisco Hernandez converted for a 7-0 lead.
Injera could have levelled after touching down but he went ahead to miss his conversion as they trailed 7-5 to the break.
It took substitute Daniel Sikuta to liven up Kenya’s chances of progressing to the finals when he ran outside to skip over a Spanish tackle to put his side in front as Injera this time round made sure his kick went through the post to advance to the final with a 12-7 score line.
In the Bowl last four, Scotland kicked-off with a try that saw Mark Bennett finish off after three-pass move to cross the line for Scott Wight to convert before Oscar Ayodi sprinted through on the left flank to pull one back as Injera missed the kick.
Bennett notched his brace to extend the lead before Scott Riddell intercepted from a Kenyan missed tackle to give Scotland 19-5 lead at the breather.
Injera recorded his 180th career try as Kenya showed their class but speedster Andrew Turnbull broke Treu dreams of a fifth Cup last four to finish with a fine move and send Scotland to the semis with an emphatic 26-12 victory.
After seven HSBC Sevens World Series rounds, Kenya has dropped to ninth on the log with 60 points ahead of the closing legs in May at Glasgow and London 7s.
Series defending champions New Zealand were crowned Main Cup winners after defeating England 26-7 while South Africa beat Wales 19-14 to lift the Plate as Scotland settled for Bowl after a 31-5 victory over France.
All Blacks are back at the log summit with 136 points; seven ahead of Treu’s former employers, Blitzbokke who are second while Tokyo 7s champions Fiji are third with 112 points.