NAIROBI, March 6 – The national sevens team collected ten points at Las Vegas 7s after going down 14-19 to Japan in the Plate semi-finals as the fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series concluded Sunday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, USA.
The result meant Kenya stagnated eighth on 52 points, hence failing to make an improvement from their Sydney 7s performance where they amassed 12 points after reaching the Plate finals.
The Benjamin Ayimba side were relegated to the Plate competition following their 14-26 loss to hosts USA in the Main Cup quarter-finals, and now they will be going back to the drawing board to rectify their mistakes ahead of the sixth round this weekend in Vancouver, Canada.
Against Japan, Shujaa were held 7-7 at the interval after throwing away Willy Ambaka’s lead for the Japanese to level through Kazuhiro Goya, who found an instant reponse by running in from halfway to score.
Kenya suffered a blow when Dennis Ombachi was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock down to see Ayimba finish with six men in the first period.
Kenya were a pale shadow of the side that walloped New Zealand 22-0, managing to score one try on the restart where Japan took the lead when Yoshitaka Tokunaga offloaded to set up Ryuta Yusui for his maiden score.
Veteran Humphrey Kyange, as he has done so often in the past, picked a scoring pass to restore parity as Biko Adema’s conversion was decisive to give his side a two point lead.
Japan showed another great moment as Shohei Toyoshima produced a superb finish after good work in the build-up from Lomano Lemeki and Lote Tuqiri to win it for the Asian champions.
However, it was a brilliant outing for Kenya’s record try scorer Collins Injera, who grounded four tries in Las Vegas to take his overall series tally to 218, two short of Ben Gollings, who is second in the all-time list and12 behind record holder and World Rugby sevens columnist, Santiago Gomez Cora of Argentina.