Injera could surpass Gollings in Vancouver

By the punter
Mar 12, 2021
  • Collins Injera needs only two tries to equal 200 scored by Ben Gollings. (Photo Courtesy Ministry of Rugby)

For Collins Injera, the dream of becoming the top all-time try scorer remains alive.

The Kenya vice captain and one of the playmakers inched closer to achieving this target at the just concluded USA Sevens by scoring four tries which took him to within only two tries of equalling 220 tries scored by England's Ben Gollings.

"The time will come. I really do not think about it that much because when I do, it could affect what we have set to achieve as a team," Injera told Sports News Arena in Las Vegas. "But when it happens, it will be a great thing," he acknowledged.

His elder brother Humphrey Kayange scored his 150th try in Las Vegas and is among one of the top try scorers. He believes Injera is capable of realizing his dream. "As the vice captain, he has a lot of responsibilities and we support one another as a team. His moment will come," the former captain said.

Right behind Injera is another Englishman Dan Norton who has scored 191 tries. New Zealand's Tim Mikkelson has 168 tries. These are the only active players at the moment.

Injera's try chase will be among some of the records that will set the indoor stadium in Vancouver alight.

Kenya wound up their training on Friday with a captain's run and the team's management are ready as the Series enters the final stretch with tournaments in Hong Kong, Singapore, France and England left before the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Kenya up against Portugal

In Vancouver, Kenya will be up against Portugal first before tackling Samoa and Fiji, winners in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, Kenya set the pace only to fizzle at the knock-out stage.

Their performance was one of the highlights of a grueling three-day tournament in which the teams faced everything from a scorching heat to windy conditions on the last day. "We have reviewed our performance in Las Vegas and know what needs to be done. There is no easy match in the Series and every match is like a final to us. What we need is consistency," the management said.

In Las Vegas, Sports News Arena learned the players were unhappy with their performance at the knock out stage. The loss to Japan in the Plate semi-final was the lowest point and there was a tense atmosphere in the changing room where Benjamin Ayimba, the head coach had some strong words to say to the players.

When we reached Ayimba for a comment all he said was "The better team won on the day." A KRU official was taken a back by the loss and posed: "How can you slay a lion and fail to trample a seemingly easier adversary?"

But, the performance by Kenya against New Zealand which Gordon Tietjens termed as their worst game caught the attention of Mike Friday, the USA coach who had a stint in Kenya. He told World Rugby: "For me, I think the most impressive performance was the game for Kenya against New Zealand. It was fantastic to see all of the boys running with such power and pace; Billy ‘The Kid’ Odhiambo coming off his angles; the power running of Oscar Ouma; the lines of Oscar Ayodi; and Collins Injera just pulling the strings.

I thought that was the performance of the weekend and typified where we are in the world of sevens. With upsets like Kenya’s shock win over New Zealand and Japan’s emergence in mind – they reached only their third Cup quarter-final in Vegas."

He observed last weekend's events only served to emphasise the competiveness of the series. "We’re halfway through now on the series and I think it’s just brimming nicely; it’s clearly showing how competitive it is.

Credit to tier two countries

Long gone are the days when it’s the normal super rugby powerhouses – seven or eight teams – in the mix the whole time, every time. And that’s credit to up and coming tier two nations like ourselves and Kenya who are mixing it with the big boys. I think it just breeds the excitement and the competitiveness as we move closer towards Rio. So exciting times ahead."

With the Series past the halfway, some of the Kenyan players have made the most appearances in the top 50. Samoa's Uale Mai made 79 appearances and Ben Gollings 70. Kayange (62), Injera (61), Horace Otieno (56), Lavin Asego (54), Biko Adema (52 and Andrew Amonde (43) are up there with the trailblazers.

It has also become unpredictable to single out any outstanding team. Fiji won the opening tournament in Dubai and their second win was in Las Vegas. South Africa won home tournament while New Zealand were winners in Wellington and Sydney.

In Las Vegas, referees dished out many cards. New Zealand, South Africa and Wales had two yellow cards with South Africa having a red shown to Rosko Specman. The top goal scorer in Las Vegas was Vatemo Ravouvou (Fiji) 15, Quade Cooper 11, Madison Hughes and Dmitry Perov 10 each.

Seabelo Senatla scored 11 tries in Las Vegas. Samoa Toloa had 8. Injera (4), Kayange (3), Billy Odhiambo (3) and Willy Ambaka (2). Adema landed 32 points behind Senatla (55), Toloa (42) and Ravouvou (40).

Vancouver Sevens

Pool A: Fiji, Kenya, Samoa, Portugal; Pool B: Australia, Wales, Russia, Canada; Pool C: South Africa, Argentina, Scotland, Brazil; Pool D: USA, New Zealand, France, England.

Fixtures: South Africa v Scotland, Argentina v Brazil, Fiji v Samoa, Kenya v Portugal, USA v France, New Zealand v England, Australia v Russia, Wales v Canada, South Africa v Brazil, Argentina v Scotland, Fiji v Portugal, Kenya v Samoa, USA v England, New Zealand v France, Wales v Russia, Australia v Canada, Scotland v Brazil, South Africa v Argentina, Samoa v Portugal, Fiji v Kenya, France v England, USA v New Zealand, Australia v Wales, Russia v Canada; Day two: A3 v D4, C3 v B4, D3 v A4, B3 C4, A1 v D2, C1 v B2, D1 v A2, B1 v C2.