Concussion scare for Injera in Las Vegas

By the punter
Mar 06, 2017
  • Kenya narrowly beat Samoa 21-14 in the Challenge Trophy final at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. (Photo by David Kiania)

  • South Africa reached their fifth final and dethroned Fiji as the USA Sevens champions. (Photo by David Kiania)

  • Collins Injera could miss the Vancouver Sevens. (Photo David Kiania)

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas: The results of a concussion test to Collins Injera could force coach Innocent Simiyu to change his strategy in the sixth tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Series in Vancouver, next week.

Injera walked off the pitch for a test after Samoa scored their second try. After the match Simiyu was waiting for the results.

Ordinarily, a player could return to the field and resume playing after a concussion test or stay for 14-21 days after attaining second degree concussion. A first degree concussion could take more than 21 days rest on the recommendation by a doctor.

Missing out Injera who has become a playmaker from the scrum-half position would be a big blow for Kenya in Vancouver where they have been drawn in Pool A with Series leaders South Africa, England and Chile.

Already, Oscar Ayodi who traveled to Las Vegas as a 13th player has been included in the team after an ankle injury to Eden Agero.

On Sunday night, SNA established that it is likely Agero could recover to play in Vancouver. Because no non-traveling reserve was named, Simiyu is unlikely to request for any player.

At the completion of the USA Sevens, Kenya remains at 11th position with South Africa as leaders.

SA weather storm

The South Africans weathered strong winds on the final day and a rally by Fiji to win the final 19-12. Masivesi Dakuwaqa scored the first try for Fiji.

When Richard Kelly, the referee sent Vatemo Ravouvou to the sin bin in the fifth Minute, South Africa used the numerical advantage to score a try by Cecil Africa. He converted for a 7-5 lead at halftime.

On resumption, Chris Dry extended South Africa’s lead to 14-5. When the Series leaders went 19-5 up from a try by Rosko Specman, Fiji’s fates appeared sealed with only two minutes of play left.

Waisea Nacuqu engineered the comeback with a try in the sixth minute of this half. Osea Kolonisau converted to narrow the gap 19-12 in Fiji’s favor.

There were no more scores but the match ended on a tense finish when Sevuloni Mocenagaci was sent off by Kelly.

In the bronze medal playoff, Andrew Durutalo scored at death to clinch the third place for the hosts. Maka Unufe scored the first try for the USA and Stephen Tomasin converted for a 7-0 lead. New Zealand were reduced to six player after Dylan Collier was sent to the sin bin.

They roared back towards the end of the first half with a try by DJ Forbes. In the second half, Tim Mikkelson scored a try after only one minute. Beaudein Waaka missed the conversion.

Danny Barrett was next over for the USA and Sherwin Stowers converted. Deep in added time, Durutalo struck to the delight of the home fans. England edged out Australia 10-7 in the playoff for fifth and sixth positions.

Kenya 21 Samoa 14

Kenya survived a second half rally to beat Samoa in the Challenge Trophy final. In this match, Andrew Amonde scored two tries on either side with Collins Injera adding one. Sam Oliech slotted three conversions.

Injera scored the first try when he sneaked past the Samoa forwards to speed unchallenged under the posts. Oliech converted for a 7-0 lead.

Oscar Ayodi nearly added the second try after Ambaka powered his way past the Samoa backs beating three before being tackled. Then Amonde powered over for the second try and Oliech was sure as Kenya extended the lead 14-0 at halftime.

In the second half, Kenya lost the ball from the restart and Tila Mealoi scored a try which he converted to narrow the gap 14-7 in Kenya’s favor. He completed his brace by capitalizing on a defensive lapse by Kenya to level the scores.

The dying minutes saw each team cautious. When Kenya were awarded a penalty just outside Samoa’s 22, Amonde took a quick tap and ran through three Samoan players to score under the posts.

Gordon Tietjens, the Samoa coach said he was pleased with the progress the team is making. "There is no quick fix," Tietjens said.

Simiyu was not satisfied with a Challenge Trophy. "We should be playing in the main cup," the coach stated.

Vancouver draw

Kenya has been drawn in Pool A of Vancouver Sevens where they will play South Africa, England and a fourth team to be named in the sixth tournament of the World Rugby Sevens World Series.

According to the draw, Pool B has Fiji, Argentina, Samoa and Wales. USA, the Bronze medal winners in Las Vegas head Pool C ahead of Australia, France and Japan with Pool D having New Zealand, hosts Canada, Scotland and Russia.

Vancouver Sevens draw

Pool A: South Africa, England, Kenya, Chile.

Pool B: Fiji, Argentina, Samoa, Wales.

Pool C: USA, Australia, France, Japan.

Pool D: New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Russia.

Day three results

Cup semifinals: South Africa 20 USA 17, Fiji 19 New Zealand 14; Final: South Africa 19 Fiji 12.

Playoff: USA 19 New Zealand 15.

5th/6th place semifinals: Australia 14 Argentina 0, Canada 5 England 12; Final: Australia 7 England 10.

Challenge Trophy Semifinals: France 7 Kenya 14, Scotland 0 Samoa 24; Final: Kenya 21 Samoa 14.

13th/14th place semifinals: Japan 24 Chile 7, Wales 24 Russia 5; Final: Japan 19 Wales 21.