Injera stars for Simiyu’s charges against tricky Russians in Las Vegas.
Kenya’s chances of qualifying to the USA Sevens quarter-finals suffered a blow after the team registered mixed results in the opening day of the fifth round of the 2017/2018 HSBC Sevens World Series, at the Sam Boyd Stadium, in Las Vegas, yesterday.
Shujaa, who were due to face off with Hamilton Sevens champions Fiji in their final but decisive Group A match last night (11.36pm) made a losing start to the tournament after falling 19-14 to France.
However, the former Singapore Sevens champions responded swiftly to beat Russia 19-12 in their second match and keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
Collins Injera was the hero in the second match scoring a brace of tries with Homeboyz’s Jeff Oluoch grounding the other try.
But it was not that rosy for the Innocent Simiyu’s side as they lost Sammy Oliech through injury.
Oluoch latched on a pass from Nelson Oyoo to put Kenya ahead before Oliech was stretched off after colliding with an opponent.
Injera then popped up to extend the lead and take his tries tally to 247 as Eden Agero added the extras. However, Ivan Ovchinnikov pulled a try back for the Russians to make the scores 12-5 to the breather.
German Davydov’s converted effort drew the Russians level before Agero converted Injera’s try after a brilliant Shujaa build up to secure their first win of the day.
Outpaced his marker
In the first match, Kenya trailed 12-7 at halftime with P. Bonneford and Sacha Valleau scoring the two tries for the French side before Oliech’s converted try brought Kenya back into the game.
Willy Ambaka outpaced his marker to ground another try which was converted and hand Shujaa a 14-12 lead.
But France responded immediately with Valleau grabbing his brace, converted by Baraque. The highlights of Day One included a 26-19 win for fifth placed Argentina over second placed New Zealand in a Group D encounter.
Hosts USA secured two convincing wins over Samoa (26-12) and Australia (28-7) in Group C. England, Argentina, Samoa, Fiji and South Africa also won their two group matches.
Meanwhile, All Blacks fly-half contender Richie Mo’unga may be sidelined for several weeks, it was feared yesterday, after the Canterbury Crusaders pivot suffered a suspected broken jaw.
Mo’unga was taken to hospital after colliding with Western Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff in the final minutes of the Crusaders’ 45-28 win over the South African side in their Super Rugby clash in Christchurch.
“It was just a head clash,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said. “It was when their reserve prop scored, he (Mo’unga) took one on the chin. He sort of fell off that tackle when they scored.”
Mo’unga, who played for the All Blacks against a France XV last year, is a leading contender to fill the void as New Zealand’s number two fly-half behind Beauden Barrett following Lima Sopoaga’s decision to move to English side Wasps.
Before being forced from the field, Mo’unga scored a try and landed five conversions. “It is a shame for him. It is similar to what happened last year isn’t it?” Robertson added.