NAIROBI, Kenya May 24 – Veteran Humphrey Kayange unselfishly laid off two tries for his younger brother Collins Injera at the final leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in London, in the process aiding him break Santiago Gomez Cora’s all-time top try record.
Speaking to Capital Sport when the team returned home on Monday night, Injera heaped praises on Kayange for not only providing the two assists that saw him smash Cora’s record of 230 tries, but also holding his hand through his rugby journey.
Injera grounded eight tries at Twickenham Stadium over the weekend to move five clear of retired Cora to lead the all-time world top try scorer with 235.
“He is the one who made me play rugby back in high school and over the years he’s been the person I have been going to when I have issues in rugby. He’s the one who has been criticizing me over and over. We just help each other,” Injera stated.
“What made it more special for me breaking the record is that I received the ball from Humphrey (Kayange). He was going to score the try after all but for him to give it to me is just special,” the Mwamba RFC playmaker added.
Kayange, who started his rugby journey way before Injera, disclosed that he is proud of his brother, saying he deserved to break the record.
“When I first broke through, I turned back and saw him (Injera) supporting me and thought why not. The second time I was already in the try box and again I looked back and saw him supporting me and I said again, why not. He deserved it and I thought it was important to give it to him to let him shine because it was his moment.” Kayange explained.
“He’s grown to be his own player and he’s had his achievements. It’s great to see how much he’s achieved in the short time he has played the game and I am happy for him,” Kayange, who is four years older than Injera said.
On breaking the record especially in the presence of his parents, who travelled for the season finale, the 29-year-old could not hide his excitement.
“It felt amazing. When I started playing rugby I said one day I want to be the top try scorer. Back then, it looked impossible but when I was close, it was huge. The pressure is off and I can now just play rugby and enjoy,” Injera added jokingly.
Kenya’s next focus after the conclusion of the World Rugby Sevens Series is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Shujaa hope to replicate and even better their performance when the shorter version of the game makes its debut.
Kenya had a splendid 2015-16 season, managing to attain 98 points to finish seventh overall, six places up from last year’s disappointing 13th position.
The players will have three weeks rest before switching gears to Rio but for the technical bench, there’s no time to rest.
Ayimba did not return with the rest of the squad to Nairobi as he flew directly to Amsterdam, Netherlands where a development tournament is on the cards and the coach hopes to use it to test further talent ahead of the squad selection for the Summer Games.
“We are going to use upcoming players in the tournament but we’ll also give a chance to some of the regulars who have not had enough playing time this season due to injury,” Assistant coach Paul Murunga told Capital Sport.
The team for Amsterdam will be named on Wednesday ahead of the tournament that takes place in June.
Injera will not be part of the side travelling to Amsterdam but he will be putting his muscles in ice for the next three weeks as he seeks a perfect recovery with his eyes fixed on a medal around his neck in Rio de Janeiro.
“I have never played at the Olympics and I don’t know how the atmosphere is. But I think it is going to be great. Hopefully I make the squad then I keep playing my part and making it work for the team,” Injera offered.
His sentiments were shared by elder brother Kayange who said; “going by how we’ve played this season and the lessons we’ve picked, why not get a medal. We need to give our best because you don’t have second chances at the Olympics. It is something that happens once in four years. You need to go out there fully prepared and we’ll be going for the podium finish,” Kayange underscored.
Coach Ayimba will be faced with a huge task of selecting his final 12 especially having given debuts to over nine new players throughout this season, all who have impressed.