Kenya on Monday clinched the Las Vegas Challenge trophy after beating Samoa 21-14 in the final at the Sam Boyd Stadium. It was Shujaa’s second piece of silverware in this season’s World Rugby Series after they won the same title at the Wellington Sevens on January 29.
Skipper Andrew Amonde led from the front with two tries while Collins Injera added another try with Sammy Oliech spot on with all his conversions. Enroute the final, Kenya had beaten France 14-7 while Samoa saw off Scotland 24-0 in the semis.
Amonde had mixed feelings about the triumph in his post-match reactions
“It was bittersweet. We didn’t perform too well here but it’s good to get something. Big thanks to the fans, we know we have more and we can build on that for Vancouver,” the skipper said.
Speedster Injera playing in the halfback role got the ball rolling for Kenya cruising through the Samoan defence for his 242nd try as Oliech converted for a 7-0 lead.
Willy Ambaka drove 30 yards across field before setting up the 33-year-old Amonde, who barged through two tackles and came out the other side of the tryline. The impressive physical power game from the Kenyans saw them led 14-0 at the drinks.
Samoa returned stronger after the break and were levelled after only three minutes after Tila Mealoi ripped through the Kenyan defence twice for two converted tries. However, with extra time looming, Amonde stepped to win it for Kenya.
Despite the victory, Kenya remained in 11th place with 35 points, collecting eight points from their exploits in the USA. Shujaa cross over to Canada this weekend for the Vancouver Sevens, where they are in a tricky Pool A that has Vegas champions South Africa, Cape Town 7s champions England and a fourth team to be invited by World Rugby.