Simiyu: It takes only one match for things to crumble

By the punter
Jul 21, 2018
  • Jeff Oluoch scored two tries against Scotland but his dejection could not be hidden after Scotland won 31-26. (Photo by David Kiania)

There was a pin-drop silence in the Kenyan camp after the team surrendered a seemingly convincing 26-0 lead to lose 26-31 to a resilient Scotland side in the first round of 16 of the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament at the AT&T Stadium in San Francisco.

"It takes only one match for things to crumble." Innocent Simiyu, the Kenya Sevens coach explained after the walls came crumbling down with four minutes left.

The coach admitted Kenya who have lost an automatic qualification to the next RWC 7’s in 2022 lost the match mentally especially after the Welsh referee Craig Evans yellow-carded Samuel Oliech and Samuel Ng’ethe and awarded a penalty try.

"It is a game we should have sealed.We gave away easy tries and picked up two yellow cards,’ he added.

Coming from an emotionally-charged changing room atmosphere after the match, Simiyu admitted the team came to terms with the harsh reality of the small mistakes which changes the tempo of any game.

"It is a World Cup and what it means is that we have to prepare well," he stated.

Unavoidable changes

Asked about whether the result could have been affected by the substitutions he made. Simiyu explained they were unavoidable after injuries to Nelson Oyoo and Jeff Oluoch.

"It is not about the substitutions. It’s more of what we did on the pitch. We gave easy tries," he acknowledged.

In this match, Kenya was cruising before the wind was knocked out of them and indiscipline resulted into two yellow cards and a penalty try as well as an intercept which gifted Scotland a try.

Scotland were awarded a penalty early in this half which they kicked for touch. Immediately after, Kenya soaked up pressure in their 22 which also resulted in Willy Ambaka being called upon to stop a line-bound Jack Cuthbert.

But Kenya weathered the intense pressure and were awarded a penalty in the third minute after Harvey Elms failed to release the ball after being tackled by Eden Agero.

Briefly Ambaka spilled the ball but Kenya regained possession and the ball changed hands between Oyoo and Agero before Ambaka crossed over despite being chased by Jamie Farndale. Agero converted for a 7-0 lead.

The fans were livid and chants of Lets Go Kenya rang from their corner.

Oluoch scored a try in the seventh minute and Agero converted for a 14-0 lead at the change of ends.

Injera try

In the second half, Collins Injera continued from where Kenya left with a try from the kick off which Oliech converted to stretch the lead 21-0. Oluoch scored his second try after the ball changed hands between Ambaka and Oliech.

In the third minute, Simiyu made two changes bringing on Samuel Ng’ethe and Brian Tanga.

This is when the Scotland comeback started with an immediate try by Elms. Scott Ridell then scored a try in the fifth minute from a turnover and Robbie Fergusson converted.

Scotland were awarded a penalty try in the sixth minute from a foul by Oliech and immediately after Ngether followed for another cynical play.

With two players off the pitch, Scotland scored two quick tries by Farndale to knock out Kenya.