NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – An improved Kenya Sevens side collected 12 points at the second leg of the 2016/17 HSBC Sevens World Series in Cape Town 7s after losing 33-21 to Fiji in the fifth place play-off on Sunday.
By virtue of finishing sixth, Kenya climbed to 10th on the overall standings with 17 points ahead of Wellington 7s where they are drawn in Pool A alongside Cape Town 7s champions England, Argentina and an invited non-core team.
In a tense fifth place final, Kenya were punished from the start after failing to control the lineout to see the Olympic champions go ahead courtesy of Sevuloni Mocenacagi.
Playing in the presence of their fans in Cape Town, Shujaa respond decisively through Willy Ambaka who ran in his 75th HSBC Sevens Series try.
Fiji reclaimed the lead when Jerry Tuwai burst through Kenya’s defence to take his tally to five.
But Kenya cut short their celebrations when Nelson Oyoo pulled level when he picked the ball from Fiji’s poor kick-off before Kitione Taliga offloaded brilliantly to Nemani Nagusa, who sealed fifth place for Fiji.
Captain Andrew Amonde was pleased with the performance and was upbeat the team will improve when the third leg heads to Wellington, New Zealand in January 2017.
“We kept on improving because we came in South Africa having played in the Bowl in Dubai. We just raised our standards and we got to the Main Cup so it’s a build up process and we are looking forward to the next tournament,” Amonde stated.
” We are going to prepare well and rectify our mistakes from Cape Town and be able to raise a team that will focus and play well in Wellington. We enjoyed our time in Cape Town because the fans kept us going,” the skipper added.
We kept on making the boxes and we came down in SA coz in Dubai we played in the bowl we just neede to raise our standards and we go the main cup it’s a build up and we are looking forward to the next tournament.
We are going to prepare what we learnt from Cape Town tornament and be able to raise a team that will focus well and play well in welling tom. We enjoyed out time in Cape Town because the fans kept us going
To reach the final of the fifth place, Kenya came down 14-0 at half-time to edge out Wales 19-14.
Owen Jenkins sent the Welsh ahead after putting his boot through the ball to chase it and reach the line first for his 15th HSBC Sevens Series try.
Playing patiently and waiting for the gaps to open, Wales doubled the lead with Lloyd Evans exploiting the space to go over.
Big, strong and fast, Ambaka thundered through the Welsh defence to put Kenya on the scoreboard before Darwin Mukidza grounded his first-ever HSBC Sevens Series try after dangerman Billy Odhiambo had cut Wales open.
Ambaka ensured Shujaa progress to the final after he dotted down his second in the match right at the death to steal the game for Kenya.
Kenya were relegated to the fifth-place semi-final after going down 28-7 at the hands of New Zealand.
Tim Mikkelson, in his 64th HSBC Sevens Series tournament, broke the deadlock with 30-year-old Sherwin Stowers following up his four tries at the Dubai Sevens last week with another four this weekend.
Brian Tanga bumped off one defender to spin away from another to hit back for the Shujaa Sevens.
However, DJ Forbes sent a pass inside and Scott Curry got his legs pumping towards the tryline for the All Blacks to book their place in the Cup semi-finals with an impressive defeat of Kenya.