NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – The national sevens team will take on Russia in the Challenge Trophy quarter-final at the fourth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Sydney, Australia.
Kenya was relegated to the Challenge Trophy after finishing third in Group A following their 19-12 loss to England, 7-14 to South Africa and beating Japan 17-12.
In their final group match, Kenya survived scare to beat a resilient Japan side. Unstoppable Billy Odhiambo put Shujaa in front, but the Japanese found the scoreboard after five halves of rugby to take a two point lead.
Jamie Henry, who missed the tournament in Wellington last week, found space on the right and, after Katsuyuki Sakai’s conversion, he touched down to send Japan ahead, leading 12-7 at the break.
Japan extended the lead in the second half through Masahiro Nakano but Kenya intelligently used the width of the field to send it into the hands of Brian Tanga, who pinned his ears back towards the the line.
Collins Injera showed why he’s the top try-scorer (238! ) in HSBC Sevens Series rugby with the most delightful score to win it for Kenya at the death.
Against England, Kenya failed to break an 11-match winless streak, losing to the Englishmen who extend their dominance over Shujaa to 12 successive matches to join South Africa in the Main Cup quarter-finals.
Shujaa needed to win against the Blitzbokke i their second match to revive their chances of playing a second Main Cup quarter this season, but despite leading 7-0 at the break, Kenya could not contain South Africa in the last period to concede two tries.
South Africa’s Branco du Preez did brilliantly to deny Willy Ambaka by pushing him just into touch with the Shujaa Sevens star only clearing grass ahead of him.
However, the Kenyans broke through when Collins Injera put Augustine Lugonzo clear with a lovely, clever, deceptive pass, who gave a salute to the crowd as Kenya danced their way into the lead.
The innocent Simiyu charges lost concentration in the second half where despite matching South Africa’s physicality every step of the way, they were reduced to six men after fly-half Eden Agero was send to the sin bin for a high tackle.
This gave the advantage to the Blitzbokke with their star Seabelo Senatla, who is hard enough to stop with seven men, maximizing it to run in his fourth and then fifth try of the day to seal the win for the South Africans.