Clinical Kenya beat New Zealand to top pool A in Vegas face USA in Cup quarters

By the punter
Mar 06, 2021
  • Collins Injera is gunning for the second position of the all-time top try scorer in the World Sevens Series. (Photo Courtesy Ministry of Rugby)

On the opening day, Benjamin Ayimba the Kenya coach told Sports News Arena he had a plan for New Zealand.

The plan was to play basic rugby, be clinical in the rucks and minimize mistakes. The team just did that in their 22-0 win over New Zealand to top Pool A.

Such was the dominant performance by the Kenya team that they barely allowed New Zealand possession or any incursion in their half.

After the match, Ayimba was pleased with the performance, the first win over New Zealand this season. When the teams last met in Wellington on January 31, It was New Zealand who dictated the pace and won 36-0.

Kenya last beat New Zealand on February 13, 2021 in the main cup semi-final. This is only the fourth win for Kenya in their37 meetings. "In this match, we avoided the rucks and did not fully commit when they were in possession. It is a plus to top the pool but that does not mean we have an easier match in the quarter final. It really does not matter which team you meet in the nock out stages," the coach acknowledged.

The Olympics will be in August and Ayimba believes the win against New Zealand in Las Vegas was a positive considering the preparations for the spring bonanza in Rio de Janeiro,

Biko Adema, one of the outstanding players agreed with his coach. "We were instructed to play basic rugby and avoid making many mistakes while protecting the ball. This was a team effort," Adema stated.

Kenya 22 New Zealand 0

In this match, Kenya had an early run in the New Zealand 22 when Andrew Amonde found a crack in the defense but lost the ball. Oscar Ayodi scored the first try for Kenya in the second minute timing his angled run to perfection. Adema slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

The next try by Oscar Ouma in the fifth minute was initiated by Humphrey Kayange. Adema missed the conversion. He attempted a drop goal after the hooter but was wide as Kenya led 12-0 at half time.

In the second half, Kayange nearly intercepted a New Zealand pass. He was pulled off for William Ambaka.

Barely one minute after his arrival, Ambaka scored a try near the corner flag. Adema converted to stretch the lead 19-0. Ayimba made further changes bringing in Dennis Ombachi and Samuel Oliech.

In the sixth minute, Kenya were awarded a penalty infront of the posts after Gillies Kaka was sent to the sin bin by South African referee Ben Cruse. Adema kicked over the penalty.

With seconds left, Leonard Mugaisi and Augustine Lugonzo but the die had been cast. Kenya will meet USA in the cup quarter final.

Pool Results

Pool A: New Zealand 42 Portugal 7, Kenya 24 Russia 21, New Zealand 38 Russia 0, Kenya 38 Portugal 0, Portugal 0 Russia 31, New Zealand 0 Kenya 22.

Pool B: Australia 26 Scotland 0, England 19 Japan 19, Argentina 25 Samoa 12, Australia 35 Japan 5, Australia 36 England 7, Canada 10 Wales 17.

Pool C: Fiji 24 Samoa 28, Argentina 26 France 7, Fiji 42 France 12, England 14 Scotland 24, Samoa 17 France 31, Fiji 15 Argentina 12.

Pool D: South Africa 33 Canada 7, USA 19 Wales 12, USA 26 Canada 26, South Africa 36 Wales 7, Scotland 19 Japan 26, South Africa v USA.

Bowl quarter finals: Scotland v , Samoa v England, Portugal v Wales, Russia v Canada

Main cup quarter finals: Kenya v USA, Fiji v Japan, South Africa v New Zealand, Australia v Argentina.