• Dubai 7s: Young Kenya Team To Fight For Scraps In The Bowl

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Dec 02, 2011-

It was probably one of the sternest tests for the young Kenyan team and new coach Mitch Ocholla losing all their pool matches in seven years in the IRB World Series as they faltered 27-5 to France, more poised in their 19-12 loss to England before Zimbabwe drove the final nail in the coffin with a 21-5 drubbing.

Scores that condemned Kenya to the Bowl yet again after the opening series in Gold Coast, Australia last weekend. It will be tougher on the second day as Kenya face a resolute Portugal in the Bowl quarter finals.

Kenya 5 Zimbabwe 21

This was one match Kenya was tipped to win here at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens as they held superior head to head advantage in the World Series against their Southern African side. But like in their earlier matches Zimbabwe capitalized on Kenya’s errors with two quick tries off Jacques Leitao and Wensley Mbanje to take a deserved 12-0 lead. It was a similar script being played out from an erlier match against France.

Just like in their previous matches Kenya had to play catch up falling deep as Oscar Ouma’s late effort just before the break closed the gap to 14-5.

The restart saw Kenya improve on their tackles and passes but could not score crucial points as Zimbabwe defended well. It was Zimbabwe who were more enterprising and were rewarded with a last minute try by Manasah Sita who has come through the ranks.

Kenya 12 England 19
In their second match, England’s three tries all came off Kenya’s turnovers, as Matt Turner scored the first of his two tries to give England a 7-0 lead. Charles Kanyi pulled one back for Kenya before James Rodwell put England back in control before the half at 12-7.

The English team looking to defend their title in Dubai muscled Mitch Ocholla’s boys at contact points as Turner crossed over again. Willy Ambaka scrambled to touch down for Kenya, his second at the 7he Stadium, with England holding off to narrowly win and easily top Pool C.

Kenya 5 France 27
Missed tackles on the Kenyan part saw France go all out in their match with an emphatic 27-5 win from a team they had beaten in the past one year.
“I was surprised that there was no pressure from the Kenyans. We knew we would do well but didn’t expect to win that easily over Kenya and such results,”Frederic Pomarel, the French Sevens coach wondered.

France led 12-0 at the break after tries from Renaud Delmas and Paul Albaledejo. The two players have been key to the rebuilding process by Les Bleus and have been to Safari Sevens in Nairobi.

Willy Ambaka’s introduction in the second half seemed to revive the Kenyans but again a missed tackle gifted Delmas his second try in Dubai this year before Mathieu Acebes crossed over to give them a comfortable 22-0 lead.

Ambaka pulled one back for Kenya who are without several of their regular players with a fine run cutting through two French players before knocking over Terry Bouhraoua as he crossed over the line as Albaledejo late try sealed the scores for France.


“The boys just didn’t come of age today,”admitted Mitch Ocholla the Kenyan Coach unhappy with the results.“The technical aspect of the game is wanting and we missed a lot of tackles...”

The women's team also suffered a similar fate losing all their matches first to France 35-0, then to Russian outfit Moscow region 29-0 before narrow 7-5 win to the Tuk ladies from South Africa.

Fiji, Wales and South Africa all progressed to the Cup quarterfinals at the 2011 Dubai Sevens after maintaining 100% records on day one.

2008/09 Series champions South Africa beat New Zealand 21-5 in the final Pool B match. A hat-trick from Joeli Lutumailagi ensured Fiji defeated Samoa 31-14 while Wales became the first side to top their pool pool day one after an impressive 33-14 victory over last week's hosts Australia.

As the UAE side, which had a Kenyan David Matasio  had a baptism of fire losing all their matches including a 73-7 thrashing by Argentina. Argentina need the points to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the main cup quarter finals hoping that Fiji beat Samoa - which they did. Samoa and Argentina had battled to a 28-28 draw and it came to a points difference to determine who proceeds to the main cup quarters.

 

Collated results

Pool A: Fiji 40 Argentina 7, Samoa 55 UAU 12, Fiji 43 UAE 0, Samoa 28 Argentina 28,  Argentina 73 UAE 7, Fiji 31 Samoa 14.
Pool B: New Zealand 40 USA 0, South Africa 17 Portugal 5, New Zealand 31 Portugal 7, South Africa 36 USA 7, USA 10 Portugal 12, New Zealand 5  South Africa 21.
Pool C: France 27 Kenya 5, England 43 Zimbabwe 0, England 19 Kenya 12, France 26 Zimbabwe 0, Kenya 21  Zimbabwe 5, France 12 England 29.
Pool D: Wales 14 Scotland 7, Australia 40 Canada 7, Wales 15 Canada 12, Australia 24 Scotland 12, Scotland 19 Canada 14, Wales  33 Australia 14.


Day two Fixtures

Bowl quarter finals: Samoa v Canada, Zimbabwe v USA, Scotland v UAE, Portugal v Kenya.
Main Cup quarter finals: Fiji v Australia, England v New Zealand, Wales v Argentina, South Africa v France.   

 

Evelyn Watta

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