Rugby Rugby

Kenya squeeze into main cup quarters

Kenya vs New Zealand
Kenya vs New Zealand

NAIROBI, April 9 – New Zealand did Shujaa favor by beating Samoa 28-10 on Saturday morning in the final group game, a result that saw the Kenya Sevens team squeeze into the Hong Kong Sevens Main Cup quarter finals.

Shujaa will now meet the series top ranked side Fiji in the Cup Quarters on Sunday at 6:42am, Ben Ryan’s side having topped group D with a perfect record after beating Wales in the decider.

This will be the fifth time Kenya plays in the main cup quarters this season, and the second meeting with Fiji at the same stage.

The two sides met in Sydney, the Fijians coming out tops with a 28-12 score over Kenya.

Kenya had began day two of the seventh round of the World Rugby Sevens Series with a slim 5-0 loss to the All Blacks, and the day couldn’t get better as they lost out 17-10 to France in the final group game.

Shujaa, France and Samoa all finished the group matches on five points each, but Shujaa’s better try difference booked them a ticket into the last eight.

After starting the series on a blistering note with a 24-0 whitewash of Samoa, the Benjamin Ayimba led side expected to continue in the same form into day two, but their day started with New Zealand exerting revenge on the Kenyans who beat them 22-0 in Las Vegas.

DJ Forbes’ try midway through the second half was all that separated the two sides in a tight contest. Kenya was committed, rushing New Zealand on defense while remaining competitive at the breakdown.

Kenya remained in pursuit of the game but were unlucky not to score, more so when Nelson Oyoo took his eye off the ball for a moment, inevitably knocking on with what was probably Kenya’s best chance to score.

Kenya’s performance in the final group game went further south as they lost 17-10 to France who had lost to New Zealand and Samoa and needed redemption against the Kenyans.

France commanded the game straight from kick off and Sacha Valleau powered to the first try on the left despite captain Andrew Amonde’s attempt to flatten him before reaching the try line.

Shujaa had only managed to complete six passes against France’s 20 midway into the opening half, further underlying their struggle to get a hold of the match.

France’s danger man Virimi Vikatawa used his strength to extend his side’s lead to 12-0 as he picked the ball on the far right from a scram with Nelson Oyoo’s attempt at pulling the strong Frenchman back failing. Stephan Parez’s effort from the conversion was wide.

France almost pulled themselves to a 17-0 half time lead at the buzzer when Parez sprung up on the left but Kenya vice captain Collins Injera pounced on him to take him off a few metres off the try line.

Kenya started stronger in the second period, Nelson Oyoo dotting down his second try in Hong Kong and the eighth of his career after skipper Amonde had done well to steal possession from the French and spread the ball wide.

Shujaa’s hope of a comeback were quashed with Parez dotting down on the far right, finishing off most of the spadework by Vikatawa though the ball appeared to have landed on the try line rather than in the try box.

Willy Ambaka gave Kenya the much needed try a few seconds to the end, using his strong arms to fend off pressure from the French and landing a try on the left. Despite Injera’s failed conversion, the try difference was enough to give Kenya some hope and look onto New Zealand for favors.