NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20- Kenya overcame a slow start to beat Tonga 19-7 in their opening game of the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, United States on Friday night to book a date against Scotland in the Round of 16 play-off early Saturday morning.
Tonga had threatened to pull a shock after going 7-0 up, but Kenya raced back into contention with Nelson Oyoo dotting down twice while Collins Injera added the third try to hand Innocent Simniyu’s men a perfect start.
Shujaa had a rusty start to the match and seemed a bit heavy with Scotland making the early inroads. Tonga got a reward for their early persistence when Sosaia Tokai dipped over the line after they turned over possession.
Tokai noticed a small pocket of space and made use of it storming to the try line and despite a late attempt to pull him down before he crossed over, he still managed to extend a hand over the chalk. The conversion was good, Tonga taking a 7-0 lead.
Kenya was handed an advantage when try scorer Tokai was sent to the sin bin and they used the numerical advantage with Oyoo striking one try back after some patient build up which saw the ball swing to the left and Oyoo using his speed to dash for the try.
Kenya trailed 7-5 heading into the break.
Upon resumption, the Nakuru RFC man dotted his second of the evening, putting on the afterburners to storm away on the left after another swinging build up from Kenya. Sammy Oliech added in the extras as Kenya went 12-7 up.
Tonga threatened to strike back and it took a superb try saving tackle from jeff Oluoch to knock Semisi Tei into touch as he raced for the try box having found space on the left to runn into a kicked ball.
Oluoch then turned his defense into offense playing part in Kenya’s third try of the game. He picked the ball from the line break and dashed upfield, but his lack of pace meant he couldn’t go all the way.
Eden Agero rushing on behind him picked the offload but slipped and fell. Luckily, the ever green Injera was also pursuing and he picked the ball, took a little signature side step to create space and go over. Agero added the twos, Kenya taking the game home at 19-7.