NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Veteran Andrew Amonde struck a late try to help Kenya snatch victory away from Fiji after winning 17-14 in their final Pool A match and qualify to the Main Cup quarterfinal at the Las Vegas 7s in USA on Saturday.
Kenya will now face Argentina in the Main Cup quarters on Sunday morning at 5:10am with the big clash seeing Fiji battle it out with New Zealand in the biggest clash of Day 2.
After France had beaten Russia 31-7 in the other final Pool A fixture, Kenya needed to beat Fiji to progress to the Main Cup quarters and they exactly did that after coming a try down to upset the titans.
Fiji took the lead when Jerry Tuwai who broke away. Amenoni Nasilasila carried on the move to see their hard work pay as they weaved through the solid Kenyan defenders. As a result, Paula Dranisinukula had a walk in out wide and Nasilasila added the conversion.
However, Kenya responded after using their physic and instead of playing wide as their norm, to see them go through the middle of the park with hard runners with Collins Injera making the final punch through to level the proceedings at the interval.
Kenya nearly punished a scrappy Fiji side when Paula Dranisinukula’s wayward pass was kicked through by Billy Odhiambo and, for once, Jerry Tuwai could not safely collect in the back field. As a result Kenya had a scrum five metres out, however they gave the ball back to their opponents at the breakdown before Fiji knock-on.
Fiji were reduced to six men after Vatemo Ravouvou was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle. Kenya maximized on the advantage to take the lead when Injera went from east to west before delivering a try-scoring pass to Willy Ambaka on the far left but missed the conversion, leading 12-7.
However, a lapse of concentration from Kenya gifted Fiji back the lead when Jerry Tuwai puts the switch back inside off a scrum to see Naduva pick the ball and fly awayto the try-line before Mesulame Kunavula added the conversion.
But as Fiji thought they had won, Kenya snatched away the victory on the hooter when Amonde grounded the winner to spark Kenyan fans at the stands who went wild. Amonde was too powerful for Fiji as he received the ball from Injera after pushing the opponents to their corner.