SECTIONS

Kenya bag 12 points in london campaign: Sevens team loses to South Africa in Plate semis of IRB series last leg

By BS MULAVI

Kenya’s Michael Wanjala (left) tackles France’s Paul Bonnefond during their London Sevens Plate semi-final tie at Twickenham Stadium, yesterday. [PHOTO: AFP]

The Kenya National Sevens team ended their London Campaign with 12 points after losing  38-14  to South Africa in the Plate semi-finals of the last leg of the International Rugby Board Sevens Circuit.

After qualifying for the Main Cup quarter-finals of the tournament on the first day, Kenya failed to keep up the momentum against Australia on the second day, where two first half tries from Tom Lucas and Sam Myers were enough to steer the Australians to a deserved 12-5 victory over Kenya.

Even though Kenya appeared to be resurgent in the second half with Humphrey Kayange pulling one back, Australia held out for the victory that spurred them to the Main Cup semi-finals while Kenya were relegated to the Plate semi-finals to play against France who had earlier lost 19-17 to England in the other Main Cup quarter-final of the day.

Kenya were clear favourites over France and started the game with intent, scoring three tries through Patrice Agunda, Kayange and Michael Agevi to take a commanding 21-0 lead at the stroke of half-time.

A renewed side

However the French came back a renewed side in the second half scoring three tries of their own through Bryan Dimeck, Terry Bouhraoua and Vincent Deniau to reduce the deficit to 21-19.

Kenya had to act fast and it was through substitute Felix Ayange that they got their fourth try that pushed them to the final where they were to meet neighbour South Africa who had also beaten Samoa 24-17 in the other Plate semi-finals.

The battle in the finals seemed as a one sided affair with Kenya giving South Africa to much breathing space.

The South Africans took advantage of the early spell of possession to score through Seabelo Senalta, Kwagga Smith and Frankie Horne to take a commanding 19-7 lead by half-time after Billy Odhiambo pulled one back for Kenya.

It was no different in the second half with Senalta adding two tries, while Jamba Ulengo finished their account to win the game 38-14 with Kenya’s only second half-try coming from new kid Tony Owuor.

The last two legs of the circuit will be Kenya’s best performance under new coach Paul Treu after he accumulated 24 points to take their tally to 84 points.

 On the conclusion of the circuit Kenya will now shift focus to the Common Wealth games that are scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland at the end of July.

 ––briansagala@gmail.com