Resurgent Kenya storm Main Cup quarters in Wellington
Kenya Sevens will face World Rugby Sevens Series leaders South Africa at Wellington Sevens Main Cup quarterfinals at 4:10am on Saturday at the Westpac Trust Stadium.
Felix Ochieng’s charges made it to their first Main Cup quarters this season when they defied an awful start against Argentina to stun Samoa and Scotland 28-14 and 19-14 respectively top Pool D.
A shaky start saw Kenya lose 7-31 to Argentina but the team showed great resilience, tackling and team work, rallying from behind to win the next matches against the Scots and the Samoans.
Scotland beat Argentina 21-14 after waylaying Samoa 14-12 to join Kenya in the Cup quarterfinals as Argentina, who are fifth in the Series, and Gold Coast runners-up Samoa dropped to into the Bowl.
Kenya topped their pool for the first time since the 2013 Sevens Wellington when they went on to beat New Zealand and reach the final.
Kenya reached Shield finals at Gold Coast and Dubai before reaching the bowl final at Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.
Mwamba trio Dan Sikuta, Collins Injera and Lavin Asego were in tip top form to spur the Kenyans to glory as they defied their recent form.
Sikuta touched down a brace of tries while Asego and Injera crossed the line once apiece as Kenya rallied from 0-7 behind to go ahead 21-7 at the drinks before beating Samoa 28-14.
Samoa took off to a brilliant start as Samoa Toloa went over with ease. The lead didn’t last long as Injera would intercept a pass before chalking the ball to Sikuta, who darted inside to level matters with Asego’s conversion.
Kenya extends the lead to 21-7 at half time with captain Andrew Amonde showing great strength to begin a beautiful offloading move. Then an interchange between Injera and Asego saw Sikuta go for his brace as Injera also offloads to Billy Odhiambo who found Asego on the clear for a touchdown.
It was all or nothing in the final seven minutes, with both sides needing a win to make the quarters.
Injera would rack in his 190th career try which Asego converted to maintain his 100 per cent performance with the boot.
Damien Hoyland’s brace gave Scotland a 14-7 half-time lead over Kenya before a quick-fire double from Billy Odhiambo gave Kenya a five-point cushion, a lead they held onto for the remaining minutes.
In the second period, a turnover by Asego saw him break before offloading from a tackle to Odhiambo, who tore through for centre post try. Asego converted for victory.
During the first match, Argentina and Kenya traded early five-pointers through Rodrigo Etchart and Bush Mwale respectively before Segundo Tuculet’s converted try gave the Pumas a five-point advantage at the break.
German Schulz extended the lead to 12 before two late tries put the result beyond doubt for Argentina.
Main Cup quarters fixtures:
USA vs Scotland (3:28am)
Fiji vs England (3:49am)
Kenya vs South Africa (4:10am)
New Zealand vs Australia (4:31am)