Kenya eye Las Vegas Cup glory
After securing a morale boosting Bowl victory at Wellington Sevens on Saturday, Kenya will be going flat out for main Cup performance at Las Vegas next weekend.
Kenya, who for the second time downed Australia 12-7 in the tight Bowl final, are up against Wellington bronze medallists England as well as Scotland, whom they outclassed 17-7 in Bowl quarter-final. Others in Pool D are minnows Brazil in the Las Vegas leg of the IRB circuit.
Speedster Collins Injera, who topped the Wellington try scorer’s chart with seven tries, said: “It feels quite well to come back on day two strongly. We really needed this win after we faltered slightly on day one to miss the main Cup.
“It’s a morale boost going to Las Vegas where we have the largest following. The pool might sound easy, against Scotland and Brazil, but we will not leave anything to chance.”
Day two unbeaten run
Injera and his elder brother, former captain Humphrey Kayange, scored in the final to maintain Kenya’s day two unbeaten run and earn eight Series points, their best show this season.
They also rose one place to 14th, with 13 points behind leaders New Zealand who reclaimed the top spot after they downed Fiji 24-7 in a pulsating main Cup final.
The triumph gave New Zealand a clear lead in the series with 73 points, ahead of Fiji on 70 with five rounds remaining after both sides went into the tournament as co-leaders on 51.
“It’s good to be back and inspire some of the youngsters in the team,” said Injera, who missed the three opening events – in Gold Coast, Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
Earlier, Kenya beat Wales 17-7 with captain Sidney Ashioya and Leon Adongo scoring a try each. Ashioya had inspired the side to victory in the quarter-final against Scotland where he crossed the line once before Injera made a similar feat. Australia booked their place in the final with a 24-12 victory over Argentina.
New Zealand, who were defending their home title, took five minutes to get their first points on the board but thereafter they never looked like losing.
After finding the Fijian defence impenetrable in the opening stages, Tomasi Cama set the game alight with a delicate chip kick which Tim Mikkelson latched on to and took play up to the line, where DJ Forbes finished the move.
Frank Halai then scored twice and Cama touched down on the stroke of half-time to give New Zealand a solid 24-0 lead at the turn.
The loss of the inspirational captain Forbes with a cheek injury saw New Zealand take a more defensive role in the second half and they were able to hold Fiji out until the final minute when Waisea Nayacalevu scored.
Coach Gordon Tietjens said it was New Zealand’s defensive effort that made the difference.