Kenya and New Zealand in plate final?

By the punter
Mar 06, 2021
  • Billy Odhiambo, one of the standout performers at The USA Sevens breaks through against Portugal in a previous match. (Photo Courtesy)

The emerging rivalry between Kenya and New Zealand may be repeated on the final day of the USA Sevens, the fifth tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday.

Both teams lost their quarter final matches to USA and South Africa to drop to the Plate. In the Plate, Kenya faces a tricky Japan while New Zealand have Argentina in their menu.

On Saturday, there was a high and setback for the Kenya Sevens team on the second day of the USA Sevens. The high was a fourth ever win for Kenya against current joint table toppers New Zealand with the setback a 14-26 loss to hosts USA in the main cup quarter final.

Gordon Tietjens the New Zealand coach described the match against Kenya as probably their worst of the season because "we missed a couple of tackles." He explained when that happens, it was hard to win a game.

He was consoled by a better performance against South Africa which he said was a pretty good team.

Rugby fans on the 'Kenyan corner" of the Sam Boyd Stadium were over the moon after the win against New Zealand. They expected a tough match against the USA.

Mike Friday, a former Kenya Sevens coach had other plans and ended on the winning side as the hosts marched on to the cup semis where they meet Fiji.

Although Benjamin Ayimba, the Kenya coach was disappointed, he said USA played a good game. "At the knockout stage it is about being efficient and utilizing the chances. We made mistakes and USA were able to score," he explained.

In this match, USA shocked Kenya with a try after only 40 seconds when Kenya conceded a penalty in their five. Danny Barrett barged over and Madison Hughes converted for a 7-0 lead. Perry Baker scored the second try in the third minute and Hughes converted to extend the lead 14-0.

Rare grubber by Kayange

Kenya exploded back and a rare grubber kick over the advancing USA backs went in touch. Almost immediately, Billy Odhiambo made a dash for the line but was tackled short and penalized. Oscar Ayodo also broke through the USA defense and passed the ball to Kayange who failed to hold on.

But Collins Injera beat Garret Bender to the line after being put through by Adema. Adema added the extras to narrow the gap 14-7 in USA's favor.

Kenya were awarded a penalty after the hooter and opted to run the ball. Odhiambo scored after a good run by Adema who drew in two defenders. He converted as the teams tied 14-14 at the break.

Tough talking by Mike Friday at half time saw Martin Iosefo break the deadlock in the second minute of the second half. Hughes converted to stretch the lead 21-14.

Ayimba made three changes bringing in William Ambaka, Dennis Ombachi and Samuel Oliech. It was USA who scored a try in the sixth minute when Zack Test powered over.

In the other matches, the return of Dan Norton to the side could not help them avoid the Shield semi-final after they were beaten 21-19 by France in the Bowl quarter finals.

Fiji who lost to Samoa on the opening day narrowly beat Argentina 15-12 and overran Fiji 43-7. England dropped to the Shield.

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.

Main cup quarter finals: Kenya 14 USA 26, Fiji 43 Japan 7, South Africa 14 New Zealand 7, Australia v Argentina; Semi-final: USA v Fiji, South Africa v Australia; Final:

Plate semis: Kenya v Japan, New Zealand v Argentina; Final:

Bowl quarter finals: Scotland 17 Samoa 12, France 21 England 19, Wales 21 Portugal 12, Russia 19 Canada 10; Semi-finals: Russia v France, Wales v Scotland; Final:

Shield semi finals: Canada v England, Portugal v Samoa.