Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas: A second half rally by Chile which yielded 19 unanswered points nearly knocked out Kenya from the Challenge Trophy quarter final of the USA Sevens at the Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas on Saturday.
Kenya narrowly won 21-19 courtesy of first half tries by Billy Odhiambo, Dan Sikuta and Andrew Amonde. The struggled to contain Chile, an invitational team for this fifth leg of the World Rugby Sevens World Series.
Amonde admitted Kenya took time to adjust. “It is the same thing which happened in our match against New Zealand on the opening day,” the captain added. Besides a slow start, Amonde observed Kenya needed to focus and minimize errors.
Innocent Simiyu, the team coach was spot on. “We have picked up bad habits which works against us.” One of the bad habits according to Simiyu was a lapse in concentration which enabled other teams to gain momentum.
“We have to learn to play with intensity and shut the game,” Simiyu stated. Against Chile, the former Kenya captain noted their opponents changed the game plan and avoided contact areas. “We did not respond. There is urgent need to make that transition,” the coach observed.
These are some of the qualities he will be looking for when Kenya plays against France in the Challenge Trophy semi-final on Sunday.
“We need a better mental focus and kill any lapses.” On Sunday, Simiyu could field his 13th player Oscar Ayodi after Eden Agero sustained an ankle injury.
Kenya 21 Chile 19
The kick off by Chile was plucked by William Ambaka as Kenya settled fast in the match. Collins Injera made the first darting run but was tackled deep in the opponent’s half.
Then Billy Odhiambo broke through the Chile defense but lacked support. There was no stopping him the second time around as he dotted the ball over the line and Sam Oliech converted for a 7-0 lead.
Almost immediately, Odhiambo was on the prowl again but the ball was wrested from his grip by Chile.
After soaking the initial pressure in which they conceded one try, Chile settled and took the match to Kenya who scored the second try through Dan Sikuta. Oliech converted to extend the lead 14-0.
Just before the break, Amonde scored under the posts from a quickly-taken penalty. Oliech added the extras for a 21-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Chile scored three tries. Julio Blanc score a try after only 37 seconds and Marcelo Torrealba converted. Felipe Brangier was next over in the fourth minute of this half. Torrealba missed the conversion.
He scored a try in the sixth minute and converted for the final score.
Kenya 12 Russia 10
In this match, Kenya started on a false note when the kick by Sam Oliech did not go over the 10 meter mark. Russia regained possession and exerted pressure in the Kenya half.
They were awarded a penalty inside Kenya’s five and Eme Patris Peki scored a try after two minutes. German Davydov missed the conversion.
On the restart, Kenya failed to claim a high ball which drifted into touch in their five. From the line out, Bush Mwale made a good run before the ball changed hands between Nelson Oyoo and Billy Odhiambo.
When Dmitry Sukhin was sent to the sin bin for a foul on Odhiambo, Kenya failed to use the numerical advantage and soaked pressure from the Russians. Oyoo broke loose but lacked support.
With only a few seconds to the end of this half, Collins Injera set up William Ambaka for a try. Oliech missed the conversion for a 5-5 score at halftime.
On resumption, a quickly taken penalty by Injera saw Andrew Amonde power over under the posts. Oliech converted for Kenya to lead 12-5. Alexey Kaplin pulled one back for Russia.
Pool A: Canada, France, Russia, Argentina:
Wales 7 France 33, South Africa 26 Canada 7, Wales 21 Canada 24, South Africa 31 France 0, France 0 Canada 21, South Africa 21 Wales 7.
Pool B: Fiji, Ireland, USA, Spain
USA 26 Samoa 5, England 31 Chile 5, USA 31 Chile 0, England 12 Samoa 7, Samoa 17 Chile 12, England 24 USA 17.
Pool C: Australia, Brazil, England, New Zealand
Argentina 43 Russia 0, New Zealand 24 Kenya 7, Argentina 14 Kenya 14, New Zealand 19 Russia 5, Russia 10 Kenya 12, New Zealand 10 Argentina 12.
Pool D: Fiji, Scotland, Australia, Japan
Fiji 41 Japan 0, Australia 28 Scotland 21, Scotland 12 Fiji 24, Australia 19 Japan 12, Japan 7 Scotland 33, Australia 17 Fiji 24.
Challenge trophy quarter finals: France 24 Japan 14, Kenya 21 Chile 19, Scotland 28 Wales 21, Samoa 31 Russia 7; Semi-final: France v Kenya, Scotland v Samoa.
Cup quarter finals: South Africa v Australia, Argentina v USA, Fiji v Canada, England v New Zealand.