Silence after loss to France

By eric odanga
Mar 02, 2019
  • Vincent Onyala was one of the form players on the opening day of the USA Sevens at the Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. (Photo Courtesy World Rugby)

True character in sports is the ability to ride against the storm and come out shining.

In defeat, teams find inspiration to come back much stronger and sometimes it is the driving force after an unpredictable opening day.

Philip Snyman, the South Africa captain did not mince his words after a drab 5-5 draw against Chile, a non core team of the World Rugby Sevens World Series.

“This is a wake up call and we have to come out fighting against England tomorrow (Saturday). We did not play well,” Snyman admitted in an interview with Sport News Arena at the Sam Boyd Stadium, the venue for the fifth toyrnament of the Series.

Mike Friday, a former Kenya coach also admitted his team, The USA, narrowly lost to a better team, Argentina whose never-say-die attitude saw them come from behind to win 26-24.

But, it was all silence in the Kenya Sevens camp. Not a word after they lost 7-31 to France. The team’s management agreed to talk after warming down but instead went straight to their hotel. They face Argentina, the giant killers today in their last Pool B match.

Etchart predicts tough match

Rodrigo Etchart, predicted the match against Kenya would be tough.They are very fast and we have to slow them down,” he stated.

Friday chipped in admitting there a lot of transitions in the Kenya team and the players were giving it their best shot.

“There are a lot of transitions. It would be great to have all the players available. The players are sticking it out, battling for the flag. Settled waters at the KRU should steady the ship,” he predicted.

Speaking about the loss to Argentina, Friday was confident of qualifying for the main cup quarter finals by beating France. He was disappointed by the narrow loss to Argentina.

“We have to perfect the system, make less mistakes and increase the intensity. We did not control what we should have controlled and allowed Argentina back in the game. It is not the end of the road, you have to keep winning especially against France. In rugby you have to learn to lose,” the coach acknowledged.

On the opening day, New Zealand was the form team. They convincingly beat Samoa and Canada. Today they play against Spain. Fiji also won their opening two matches but appeared to operate at a half throttle. Although they beat Scotland and Wales, Fiji did not play with their customary flamboyance. Their ultimate test will come against Australia.

Kenya 10 USA 26

Three mistakes by Kenya gifted the USA a win in this match. From a Kenya kick off, Vincent Onyala split the USA defense before he was tackled short of the line.

Kenya were awarded a scrum in the five but were muscled off the ball and surrendered possession. From the ensuing scrum, USA patiently built up through the phases before Carlin Isles, one of the fastest players in the business scored the opening try.

He went over the chalk for the second time from a near replica of the first try after Kenya gained good ground only to lose the ball near the USA try line. This time, Isles touched down under the sticks for Madison Hughes to convert for a 12-0 lead.

Jacob Ojee, the Kenya captain then replied with a try from a quickly taken penalty. At half time, the USA led 12-5.

It was the USA who were quick off the starting blocks in the second half when Steve Tomasin scored the third try. Hughes converted to extend the lead 19-5.

From the restart, Bush Mwale, the most experienced player in the Kenya team spilled the ball. The USA were awarded a penalty and they opted for territory. Hughes was next over after to stretch the lead 26-5.

Onyala made amends for the first half miss with the second try for Kenya in the dying minutes.

Young team

The young Kenya Sevens team at the USA Sevens tournament has only 90 caps which is the least among the 15 core teams.

Bush Mwale is the most experienced with 23 caps while Michael Wanjala has 21 the captain has got four.

England has the most experienced team at the USA Sevens.Their squad which has Dan Norton, the overall top try scorer has made 358 appearances.

Norton has been capped 80 times while Tom Mitchell, the captain has 55 caps. Jamie Barden has one cap.

Canada is a close second with a team total of 350. Nathan Hirayama, the captain has appeared 67 times for Canada. He has scored 1548 points and scored 124 tries. Harry Jones has 59 caps and Mike Fuailefau 46.

England 358, Canada 350, New Zealand 282, Argentina 255, Scotland 240, Australia 230, France 208, Fiji 188, Samoa 176, Japan 102, Kenya 90, Chile 13.

Day one results

Pool A: New Zealand, Spain Canada, Samoa.

Spain 12 Canada 12, New Zealand 33 Samoa 0, Spain 21 Samoa 26, New Zealand 33 Canada 19.

Pool B: USA, France, Argentina, Kenya.

France 15 Argentina 17, USA 26 Kenya 10, France 31 Kenya 7, USA 24 Argentina 26,

Pool C: England, South Africa, Japan, Chile.

South Africa 24 Japan 0, England 17 Chile 0, South Africa 5 Chile 5, England 31 Japan 12.

Pool D: Fiji, Australia, Wales, Scotland.

Australia 28 Wales 0, Fiji 36 Scotland 12, Australia 24 Scotland 12, Fiji 33 Wales 14.

Day two

Wales v Scotland, Fiji v Australia, Canada v Samoa, New Zealand v Spain, Argentina v Kenya, USA v France, Japan v Chile, England v South Africa.