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Kenya bows out at Plate semis in Wellington


NAIROBI, Kenya, February 7 – A re-energized Kenya Sevens team collected 10 points at the fourth round of HSBC Sevens World Series after bowing out in the Plate Semi-finals with a 21-5 defeat to Australia at Wellington 7s in New Zealand on Saturday.

Felix Ochieng’ charges were relegated to the Plate after going down 5-19 to fellow Africans and rivals South Africa at the Main Cup quarters with Michael Wanjala grounding the only try for Kenya.

With all the experienced players on board, Kenya showed early intent against Australia but they spilled an easy ball to allow Greg Jeloudev break through for a 70-yard breakaway try.

Wanjala reduced the deficit to two when he went over on the hooter after a fine passing move by the Kenyans to head to the break trailing 5-7.

Australia touched down two more tries with James Stannard giving his side a pivotal early score after the restart when he slide in under the posts.

Stannard then turned defender with a superb cover tackle to deny Kenyans a try as Australia maintained to their kicking game, forcing Kenya go deep before sealing the win when Sam Myers dashed through for their third try in the game.

At the Main Cup quarters, South Africa proved to be a hard nut to crack for Kenya, shutting their dreams of repeating 2012 performance at the same venue where they were finalist.

Shujaa drew the first blood with Wanjala exploiting space to rip through the Blitzbokke defence for the opening try in their day 2 fixture.

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However, the lead did not last long as Werner Kok found space on the blindside to touch down into the corner before their conversion going through to see South Africa lead 7-5 at the break.

on resumption, Cecil Afrika extended Blitzbokke’s lead when he racked up his 114th career try before Justin Geduld added another try from Kenyans mistakes and send the Commonwealth Games champions to the semis.

Hosts New Zealand won the tournament after beating England 27-21 while this season’s series leaders South Africa settled for third place following their 40-7 victory over Scotland.

Fiji lifted the Plate after humiliating Australia 24-0 while the Bowl went to France who beat Argentina 29-5.

Canada beat Samoa 26-10 to win the Shield.

Kenya who climbed two placed up to 12th are now on 21 points and will be seeking to collect more points next weekend when they travel to USA for the fifth round at Las Vegas 7s as their mission of retaining core status continues.

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