Rugby Rugby

Kenya dance their way to Bowl title


KENYA-BOWLNAIROBI, Kenya, February 15 – Tonny Opondo and youngster Bush Mwale grounded a brace of tries apiece to help Kenya earn sweet revenge against Argentina with a 24-21 victory to lift the Bowl trophy as the Las Vegas 7s concluded Sunday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The win saw Shujaa collect eight points at the fifth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series and remain 12th on the log on 29 with four legs remaining as Fiji turned the heat on New Zealand to win the Main Cup with a 35-19 walloping as Australia won the Plate after beating England 21-14.

Series leaders and Las Vegas defending champions South Africa settled for third after thrashing hosts USA 31-0 as Portugal beat Wales 19-12 to lift the Shield.

“It was a good game,” said Opondo. “The Argentines were really tough in attack and we needed to make up for losing to them in the pool stages in the last few rounds. This win also makes up for losing to Fiji here last year.”

Felix ‘Toti’ Ochieng charges were relegated to the Bowl after England ended their dreams of reaching a second successive Main Cup quarters this season with a 21-14 loss in their last group B fixture.

Shujaa who edged out Samoa 19-5 in the semis to storm the Bowl final, ended their rotten run of three losses this season against the Pumas when they displayed a fantastic game in-front of the crowd in Vegas where they draw massive support.

Homeboyz youngster Mwale showed he is worth selection amongst experienced players when he set the pace after missing a tackle from the left to go under the post as Lavin Asego kick went through for a 7-0 lead.

The South Americans levelled minutes to the hooter through Santiago Alvarez after a swift move upfield to see both sides locked at 7-7 to the interval.

Kenya turned up rampant on the restart with Opondo bagging a quick-fire brace to send the players into a series of dances as he scored his fourth try in the tournament before Mwale secured his second with an easy run-in from another well calculated Asego pass who converted all the tries.

A bump and run at the death by Segundo Tuculet gave Argentina a decent ending when Dennis Muhanji was sent to the sin bin as Francisco Merello bettered it with diagonal run through the defences but time was against them as Kenya held on to grab the Bowl.

Against Samoa, Michael Wanjala put Shujaa ahead from a quick taken penalty at the edge of the try line as Asego’s conversion went through.

Samoa Toloa reduced the lead two minutes later when he burst from the centre and touch down on the left corner as the half-time buzzer went on.

Kenya improved their performance on the restart, executing their passes well with Lavin intercepting a lapse pass and sprint to touch down behind the post to extend the lead and score his third try in the tournament.

Asego created the third and final try when he brilliantly set Billy Odhiambo with a huge 20-yard aerial pass, who broke through in to the right corner for his fourth try in Las Vegas.

-No mercy-

In the Bowl quarters, Shujaa showed no mercy to the Portuguese scoring three tries against their single converted try

Portugal set the pace after Aderito Esteves exploited Shujaa’s defence to find space and go under the post, but Skipper Andrew Amonde turned on with a speedy response before the break to reduce Portugal’s lead to two.

Lavin Asego lifted Kenya on resumption when he turned over in the dying minutes to add on Odhiambo’s try as Kenya booked a date with Samoa in the Semis.

The early match of day two saw Kenya who have shown marked improvement in the last two legs once again could not beat the team that denied them a first Main Cup win two seasons ago in the Wellington 7s final after England ran out 21-14 victors.

Oscar Ayodi and Opondo scored the only converted tries for Kenya with Richard de Carpentier, Thomas Bowen and Charlie Hayter grounding for England.