Kenya blew hot and cold in Vegas

By the punter
Mar 07, 2021
  • Kenya lost to Japan for only the second time in Las Vegas. They are joint eighth with England as the Series debuts in Canada next weekend. (Photo Courtesy Ministry of Rugby)

A lukewarm Kenya was beaten by a resilient Japan 19-14 in the Plate semi-finals of the USA Sevens.

The loss leaves Kenya on 52 points and remain at the eighth position just below England who have the same points but a better goal aggregate. England were knocked out by Canada in the Shield semi-final.

But the unpredictable performance by Kenya after a slow start on Friday when they struggled to beat Russia 24-21 before bouncing back to shut ou cake by defeating New Zealand 22-0 to top Pool A remains the big talking point.

A defeat by the USA in the cup quarter final signalled a downward trend continue to the final day when they were beaten by Japan 19-14 in the Plate semi-finals.

In this match, coach Benjamin Ayimba rested Oscar Ouma and Humphrey Kayange who had started as forwards in the previous matches.

Biko Adema's kick at the start was claimed by Japan. But in the second minute, William Ambaka scored for Kenya after Oscar Ayodi broke through. With injera on the outside, Ambaka cut in to dot the ball between the posts. Adema converted for a 7-0 lead.

Dennis Ombachi who started at prop was sent to the sin bin by South Africaca referee Ben Cruse in the third minute. The numerical advantage saw Japan respond with a try by Lomano Lameki bumping Ayodi off his way to the try line. Kazuhiro Goya converted to tie the scores in the fourth minute.

Andrew Amonde stopped Goya who was going for his second as Ombachi came off the sin bin. It was Ombachi who split through the Japan defense but his final pass to Ambaka who was on the clear went begging.

In the second half, Japan made a substitution by bringing in Ryuta Saui. He asserted his presence with a try after 53 seconds. Goya missed the conversion as Japan led 12-5. Ayimba then brought in Kayange and Leonard Mugaisi to steady the ship.

Kayange initiated and completed the move with a try to tie the scores 12-12. He chipped over the advancing Japan backs and Ambaka collected to gain ground before releasing Kayange who touched down by dragging two Japanese players to the try line.

Adema came out for Oliech and Kenya stole a line-out ball but were unable to advance against a solid Japan defense. With the hooter gone, Japan were awarded two successive penalties and it was from the second one that Shohei scored and Goya converted.

The second semi-final between Argentina and New Zealand was decided in sudden death after the teams tied 19-19 in regulation time. Gillies Kaka scored the winning try for New Zealand.

Other try scorers for New Zealand were Beaudein Waaka, Sam Dickson and Regan Ware. Argentina replied with tries by Fernando Luna German Schultz and Axel Muller. Gaston Revol added two conversion.

Fiji edge out USA in cup quarters

Fiji edged out hosts USA 21-14 to book a place against Australia who knocked out South Africa 14-12. In the first semi-final, Jasa Varemalua scored the first try for Fiji . Vatemo Ravouvuu converted for a 7-0 lead.

USA replied immediately through Danny Barrett in the fifth minute. Madison Hughes converted to tie the scores 7-7. In added time, Fiji scored a try through Pio Tuwai. Osea Kolonisau converted to break the deadlock 14-7.

When Masivesi Daquwaqa was sin binned in the eighth minute, Perry Baker scored the second try for USA. Hughes converted.

The second semi-final saw Argentina referee Federico Anselmi dish out two yellow cards and a red. Rosco Specman was shown a yellow card and a red for shoulder charging Quade Cooper who scored the last try for Australia.

Seabelo Senatla scored the opening try for South Africa in the fourth minute for a 5-0 lead at half time.

In the second half Specman was sent to the sin bin in the fourth minute and Austraia were awarded a penalty try which Cooper convert for the team to lead 7-5.

South Africa replied with a try by Kyle Brown in the eight minute.

 Anselmi, after consulting his assistants awarded another penalty try for a shoulder charge by Speckman on Cooper. Cooper converted for the final 14-12 win.

Wales claim the bowl

Wales overcame a slow start to beat France 28-12 in the final. In the first Bowl semi-final, Russia led 14-10 before Arthur Retiere scored a try after the hooter to steal it at death 15-14. Try scorers for Russia were Vladimir Ostroushko and German Davydov. Dmitriy Perov converted both tries.

Retiere scored a brace for France and Damien Cler once. He added a conversion.

The second semi-final was won by France who edged out Scotland 21-14. Try scorers for Wales were Luke Treharne, Kristian Philips and Jordan Williams. Treharne added three conversions.

James Fleming and James Johnstone replied for Scotland and Scott Wight added two conversions.

Samoa wins Shield

Samoa beat Canada 24-12 to claim the Shield.

England were the first team to be knocked out of the event after losing 7-24 to Canada in the Shield semi-finals.

In this match John Moonlight scored two tries while Nathan Hirayama and Pat Kay added one each. Hirayama kicked over two conversions. England replied with a consolation try by Ruaridh McConnochie and Phil Burgess converted. England now have 54 points.

Portugal were knocked out by Samoa 29-14. Samoa Toloa scored two tries for Samoa while Phoenix Hunapo-Nafoa, Belgium Tuatagaloa and Tomasi Alosio added one each. Hunapo Nafoa added one conversion. Try scorers for Portugal were Diogo Ribeiro and Vasco Ribeiro.

Joao Belo and Pedro Leal kicked over one conversion each.