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SHUJAA MOWED DOWN: Kenya move a notch higher despite New Zealand mauling in Wellington Sevens

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | February 1st 2016
Kenya sevens rugby player willy Ambaka during the 2015 Safari sevens tournament at Kasarani Stadium. [PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Kenya rugby team endured a bad second day at the Wellington Sevens, the third round of World Rugby Sevens Series, after losing to eventual Cup winners New Zealand and Argentina in the Main Cup quarter final and Plate semifinal respectively.

Despite yesterday’s results, Benjamin Ayimba’s men have moved one place up (8th) on the overall standings with 30 points after garnering 10 points from the Wellington leg.

New Zealand avenged their 2013 semi-final defeat by thrashing Shujaa 36-0 in a one sided match at the Westpac Stadium.

The All Blacks, who went ahead to retain the tournament after miraculously beating South Africa 24-21 in the final, thanks to Joe Webber’s last-gasp try, were in a class of their own, dominating possession throughout the match against Kenya with their game plan working to perfection.

“We didn’t start too well against South Africa, so that was something we really wanted to do,” All Blacks captain Tim Mikkelson said after their emphatic win over Kenya. “That was perfect. We wanted to kick deep, keep them in their own half and force them to make mistakes, and we did that.”

Buoyed by their home fans, Sir Gordon Tietjens’ men spent the entire opening half on attacking, limiting Kenya’s opportunity and in the process scored four quick tries before the break.

Akira loane scored his fourth try of the tournament before captain Tim Mikkelson doubled the lead. Joe Webber touched down on the stroke of halftime with Kurt Baker scoring the fourth try for the former World Champions just after the hooter had sounded. All Blacks continued from where they left off in the second half with Augustine Pulu setting up Mikkelson for his second try of the match before substitute Regan Ware completed the rout with the sixth try.

Kenya went ahead to fall 35-14 to Argentina in the plate semi final.

Argentina scored five converted tries against Shujaa before losing 21-5 to Australia in the final.

Fiji stunned England 24-12 in the third placed play offs as Samoa clinched the bowl after beating Scotland 19-7 in the final, while France edge out Russia 14-7 to lift the shield.

Shujaa will now shift their focus to this weekend’s Sydney Sevens, Australia where they have been drawn in Pool B alongside series leaders South Africa (54 points) Scotland and Russia.

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