NAIROBI, March 5 – Siblings Humphrey Kayange and Collins Injera were on the scoresheet to inspire Kenya Sevens storm the Las Vegas 7s Main Cup quarter-finals with a match to spare after mauling Portugal 38-0 in their second fixture at Sam Boyd Stadium in USA on Saturday.
Veteran Kayange and Oscar Ouma touched down before Injera struck twice to take his overall series tally to 217, three short of Ben Gollings, who is second in the all-time list and13 behind record holder and World Rugby sevens columnist, Santiago Gomez Cora of Argentina.
Head coach Benjamin Ayimba handed Impala RFC utility Sammy Oliech his maiden cap after the break but it was Leonard Mugaisi who made the Impact three minutes after coming on.
With Shujaa having the back of their vocal Kenyan fans who reside in America, Ayimba charges settled for two tries in the second-half from Biko Adema and Mugaisi as they made it two wins from two.
Kenya launched their campaign on a brighter note, edging out new comers Russia 24-21 in their opening match.
Shujaa were made to sweat for the hard fought victory after Russia nearly caused an upset with a second-half comeback, but Billy Odhiambo grounded a last gasp try to save Kenya the blushes.
Ayimba, who started with Willy Ambaka and Dennis Ombachi on the bench, saw his side take an early lead through vice captain Injera with Adema converting.
Odhiambo doubled the lead with a converted try before Kayange touched the whitewash for his 150th career try, to ensure Shujaa went to the breather with a commanding 19-7 lead after skipper Dmitry Perov pulled one back for Russia.
Kenya downplayed the Russians in the last period to give their opponents confidence, who reduced the deficit through Vladimir Ostroushko, just three minutes after Ambaka came on for Oscar Ayodi.
The introduction of Ombachi and Mugaisi did not stop Vitalievich Davydov from levelling the scores to 19-19 before Perov added three points from the conversion to take a 21-19 lead.
However, Odhiambo came to Shujaa’s rescue when he completed his brace on the hooter as Adema’s conversion went wide but that didn’t matter as Kenya snatched the important win.
In the last match of the preliminary round, Kenya earned a sweet avenge against titans New Zealand, thrashing them 22-0 to top Group A on nine points.
Ayodi, Oscar Ouma and Ambaka grounded a try each as Adema converted a penalty to complete the rout.