Lady luck smiles on Kenya in Glasgow

By the punter
May 03, 2021
  • Billy Odhiambo scored two tries against Argentina in Glasgow. (SNA File Photo)

  • Michael Wanjala tackles Will Price in the match against Wales. Kenya lost 17-24. (Photo Courtesy IRB)

Sometimes you need luck to proceed to the next level. Lady luck shined on Kenya at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow on the opening day of Glasgow Sevens, the eighth tournament of the International Rugby Board Sevens World Series.

In an interview with the IRB, Paul Treu, the Kenya Sevens coach admitted Kenya was lucky to proceed to the cup quarter finals from a tough Pool C where three teams finished with five points each.

“It was going to be difficult. In our first game against Wales we had so many opportunities and we could not just finish it off,” the coach recalled. Wales scored a last gasp try to beat Kenya 24-19.

Then, Kenya surrendered a 17-5 lead at halftime to let Fiji off. Said Treu: “Against Fiji at halftime we knew we had to get it up.” The coach attributed the turn of events on day one to so many things but was pleased with the performance in the first two games.

However, he was unhappy about how they allowed Wales and Fiji to come back and win. “There are so many things we have done right the entire day but we could not just play until the end. Fiji clinched it in the last minute of play.”

Take it to the wire

With only the slimmest of chances, Kenya had a chance to redeem themselves against Argentina when all seemed lost. Argentina had just beaten Wales. “We told the guys this was a game you have to take it to the wire. You have to give yourself a chance. This last game was a do or die for us, we had to win by a margin and qualify.”

This is when Treu believed in luck. “Sometimes you need luck in this game and luckily for us, luck was on our side.”

Humphrey Kayange, a last minute inclusion was Kenya’s star performer and Treu noted: “Kayange is experienced and his leadership is incredible. His fitness is not quite up to the standard,” Treu admitted.

Kenya’s massive support was not lost to the coach either. “The players know they have 40 million plus people back at home and many more around the world who believe in them and what they can achieve as a team. It is incredible to be involved with this team and I hope we can go all the way.”

Stunning first day

After a stunning first day when Kenya was on the brink of another disappointing performance, they have to do it again on the second day against Canada in the cup quarter finals.  

It depends on which Kenya team turns out for the party. This season, Kenya has not been consistent playing well on the opening or the second day only.

Geraint John, the Canada Sevens coach warned that the quarter final match against Kenya will be quite physical. “We have to get better. They performed very well in the last two games. Players are pretty confident of what we have achieved,” the coach acknowledged.

Hosts Scotland topped Pool D and ppaly South Africa. New Zealand, the current table leaders only have to reach the two finals to retain the diadem. They play Australia in the cup quarters.

Japan who qualified to a core status next year gave a creditable performance against England. There is a quiet battle of relegation between Spain and Portugal.

Glasgow Sevens day two

Cup quarter final: New Zealand v Australia, Fiji v England, Scotland v South Africa, Canada v Kenya.

Bowl quarter final: Samoa v USA, Argentina v Japan, Spain v Portugal, France v Wales

Results

Pool A: New Zealand 26 Samoa 7, South Africa 38 Portugal 0, New Zealand 38 Portugal 0, South Africa 40 Samoa 0, Samoa 28 Portugal 5, New Zealand 19 South Africa 5.

Pool B: England 21 France 5, Canada 52 Japan 0, England 33 Japan 24, Canada 28 France 12, England 7 Canada 7, France 31 Japan 5.

Pool C: Fiji 26 Argentina 7, Wales 24 Kenya 19, Fiji 24 Kenya 17, Wales 17 Argentina 28, Fiji 45 Wales 0, Argentina 19 Kenya 33.

Pool D: Australia 7 Scotland 19, USA 7 Spain 17, Australia 36 Spain 7, USA 0 Scotland 26, Australia 34 USA 14, Scotland 33 Spain 12.