NAIROBI, April 16 – Kenya trounced Russia 21-7 to launch its Singapore 7s tournament positively as the Eighth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series got underway Saturday at the new look National Stadium.
However, Scotland slowed Kenya’s pace as they held Shujaa 12-12 in the second match of Group C.
Shujaa were too good for Russia who stunned the side 24-7 in Vancouver Shield Semi-finals, as the Benjamin Ayimba charges grounded three tries with Sammy Oliech scoring all the conversions.
With Ayimba fielding his starting regulars, Shujaa took four minutes to break through and find the opener when veteran Humphrey Kayange touched the whitewash for his 155th career try to send Kenya on the lead at the break.
On resumption, Ayimba introduced Nelson Oyoo, Frank Wanyama, Alvin Otieno and debutant Samuel Motari in the half that saw the Russians find their only try on the hooter and deny Kenya a clean sheet.
Oliech, playing the fly-half role in the absence of injured Biko Adema doubled the scores two minutes into the second-half before bulky Willy Ambaka extended the lead and Kenya’s last try of the day.
Against Scotland, Kenya were held to a 12-12 draw to force them wait until their last tie against South Africa where they need at least a draw or cross fingers that Scotland lose to Russia for them to book a slot in the Main Cup quarters.
Ayimba made one change from the squad that walloped Russia, starting with Oyoo in favour of Leonard Mugaisi.
Shujaa struggled in the first half to find themselves trailing after four minutes of play when skipper Scott Write turned over with an unconverted try.
However, Shujaa recovered to take the half time lead through Ambaka’s try that was converted successfully by Oliech.
Captain Andrew Amonde led by example to extend Kenya’s lead two minutes into the second half, but Oliech missed his first conversion of the tournament for a 12-5 lead.
Substitute Mark Robertson came to Scotland’s rescue as he scored a 12th minute try that was converted by Write to restore parity and revive Scotland’s hopes of advancing to the Cup quarters.
Kenya next face perennial rivals South Africa in their last preliminary encounter at 12:04pm local time (+3GMT)
The tournament returned to Singapore for the first time in 10 years with the matches played under a closed roof for the second time this season after playing on the same at the inaugural Vancouver 7s in Canada.
Fiji are the defending champions in Singapore having won the last tournament back in 2006 and the current series leaders.