Rugby Rugby

Kenya to face New Zealand in Dubai quarters

Pius Ogena of Uganda attacks against Kenya on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai on 1 December, 2017. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby. Photo/IRB

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1- Having finished second in Group A after beating neighbors Uganda 29-14, Kenya will face New Zealand in the Main Cup quarter finals of the Dubai Sevens on Saturday morning.

This is after the team bounced back from the 48-5 embarrassment against South Africa to beat a stubborn Uganda side and finish second in the group.

The Boks finished top of the pool with a perfect record after beating Canada in their last preliminary game, much to the delight of the Kenyans who were hoping for the exact result.

Shujaa ran in five tries against Uganda’s two, though the match left head coach Innocent Simiyu scratching his head with injuries.

Dennis Ombachi was taken off injured after scoring the opening try afgainst Uganda. Photo/KRU

Speedy winger Collins Injera limped off the South Africa match with a suspected hamstring strain while Dennis Ombachi was stretchered off in the Uganda match after picking up what looked like a nasty foot injury after dotting down Kenya’s first try of the game against Uganda.

Eden Agero, Dan Sikuta, Oscar Ayodi and Brian Tanga added in more tries for Kenya with Sammy Oliech converting two of them.

Uganda’s tries were grounded by Solomon Okia and Kabras Sugar’s Philip Wokarach, with the latter converting both.

Ombachi’s injury after his try caused a long stoppage and Kenya’s legs had numbed down when the match resumed allowing Uganda to draw level.

The Rugby Cranes won possession straight from the restart with  Solomon Okia popping through the centre to steal the ball and race to dot down under the posts for his fourth try of the tournament as Wokarach successfully converted.

However, Eden Agero took Kenya back into the lead after a quick start to a set piece, sneaking in the middle of the Ugandan backline after catching them off-guard but Oliech’s attempt at the conversion went wide.

Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu is upbeat the team will the targets set by Kenya Rugby Union. Photo/COURTESY

Shujaa should have added a third try after some good build up but Oliech lost the ball a few yards off the try box to see Uganda turn over.

But they made amends minutes later when Sikuta dotted down after marauding his way.

Sikuta picked up an offload just inside the Ugandan 22, bumping off his Kabras Sugar team-mate Wokarach before dotting down.

Vintage Wokarach however, cut the deficit for Uganda with his typical moves, noticing a gap in the Kenyan backline before kicking and chasing, landing and converting for a 19-14 halftime lead.

Shujaa though, knowing they needed to win at all costs for a place in the quarter finals, came back spirited in the second half with skipper Oscar Ayodi leading the front, galloping close to 60m while avoiding tackles to land Kenya’s fourth try of the game.

Scrum-Half Brian Tanga then wound up the evening with his sixth career try with Oliech adding in the extras, Kenya winning 29-14.