Another Dismal show: Sevens team drop in ranking despite winning Shield title
RUGBY By -BS MULAVI | March 31st 2014 | 3 min read
By BS MULAVI
|Kenya playing against Sri Lanka. [PHOTOS: IRB/COURTESY]|
National Sevens team dropped down two places to ninth in the IRB World Series standings after a dismal performance in Hong Kong.
Kenya once again failed to qualify for the Main Cup competition and was relegated to the Bowl after an error ridden day two in the three-day tournament.
The team started off by beating Sri Lanka, but could not withstand the pressure of giants Fiji and lost the battle of nerves against Wales in the group stages to end up in the Bowl competitions.
Their Bowl campaign also faltered in the quarterfinals as they were beaten 26-12 to drop to the lower Shield category.
It is in the Shield competition where they registered two victories against lowly competitors. Kenya beat Spain 12-7 in the semi-final and Portugal 17-10 in the final to claim the title and three points. Kenya now has a total of 60 points from seven legs in the circuit with only two rounds left to play, in Edinbrough, Scotland and London in England.
Speaking to IRB.com after their win over Portugal in the Shield final, captain Andrew Amonde said: “We started on the wrong foot and ended up in the wrong place to where we are supposed to be.”
This was in referral to their narrow 10-7 loss to Wales in the second day, with a last gasp try by the rivals to seal the win, which ultimately relegated Kenya to the Bowl competition.
“But a positive finish is something we can build on,” he added.
Amonde hinted that Kenya will aim to improve their performance when they play in the final two legs of the circuit in Scotland and England at the end of May.
|Kenya celebrates winning the Shiled title at the Hong Kong Sevens after beating Portugal 17-10 in finals.|
The KCB player also called for patience from the fans saying it is not where Kenya should be and they must aim for the top. The only positive that seems to have come from Hong Kong is the crossing of Collins Injera to the top three all time try scorers in history of the competition.
Injera started the tournament with 179 tries, but he scored four tries in the three days to take his tally to 184.
Also in the tournament, overall defending champions New Zealand beat England 26-7 in the Main Cup final to be crowned Hong Kong champions. The victory also meant the Kiwis go back to top with 136 points.
South Africa narrowly held on to beat Wales 19-14 in the final of the Plate to collect 13 valuable points, thanks to two tries from Jamba Ulengo.
“It was important for us to win that,” said coach Neil Powell to IRB.com, who lost captain Kyle Brown to injury on day one. “We knew when we lost to England in the quarters that we needed to win the Plate to get as many points on the Series.” Earlier they proved too strong for the USA winning 24-19 in the first Plate semi final.
Kenyan midfielder Linton Maina signs for Bundesliga top tier side Koln