The game, the fans, the fun: Safari Sevens fever hits city
Posted Saturday, September 22 2012 at 20:14
- Morans and Shujaa sides tantalised the packed Nyayo National Stadium with breathtaking displays to reach Sunday’s Main Cup of Safaricom Safari Sevens
- Kenya put three teams into the quarterfinals on Saturday as Chairman’s Select joined them after winning two matches
- Lote Raikabula would strike for Samurai, who lost to Samoa in last year’s final, at the death but it was not enough
Are rugby enthusiasts witnessing the rebirth of Kenya Sevens teams?
While many would say it’s early to tell but that was the question as Morans and Shujaa sides tantalised the packed Nyayo National Stadium with breathtaking displays to reach Sunday’s Main Cup of Safaricom Safari Sevens.
Kenya put three teams into the quarterfinals on Saturday as Chairman’s Select joined them after winning two matches.
The Andrew Amonde-skippered Morans stream-rolled Uganda Cranes 28-0 before braving Rwanda’s first half onslaught to win 40-7 but it was Collins Injera’s Shujaa that got the adrenaline rushing when they stunned Samurai, an All Blacks outfit, 14-12 before whacking Western Province 24-7.
Debutant Cyprian Kuto then touched down a hat trick of tries while Patrice Agunda scored a double as Shujaa mauled Uganda Kobs 50-0 to top Pool A.
Kenya were to meet Grenoble in a match they had to win so as to avoid meeting Shujaa in the Main Cup quarter-finals.
After going down to former Kenya Sevens skipper Humphrey Kayange’s Bristol Barracudas 31-7, Chairman’s Select would recover to upset Spain 21-19 before their inspiring 21-15 win over Hamilton Raiders finished it off with the icing on the cake.
Dennis Ombachi claimed a brace of tries with enterprising work-out from set-pieces as Lavin Asego converted both to put Moranms 14-0 ahead at the interval.
Ombachi would then evade a few tackles before offloading to David Ambuya to score as Kevin Keegan ploughed his maiden international try with Asego and Nato Simiyu converting the tries for victories.
After Tony Onyango’s scintillating try after weaving through a flurry of tackles to go ahead 7-0, Shujaa would find themselves in trouble.
Lapse in concentration
Besides Dan Sikuta being sin-binned for an infringement in the maul, their defense proved sloppy to allow Joe Raratabu to level for Rwanda with a converted try. However Shujaa turned on the style with Amonde, Ombachi, Simuyu and Sikuta’s tries sealing Rwanda's fate.
Christopher Asego and William Ambaka put the score for Shujaa 14-0 at half time against Samurai, who replied with worth from Samuel Dickson after Shujaa’s defense cracked.
Lote Raikabula would strike for Samurai, who lost to Samoa in last year’s final, at the death but it was not enough. Davis Chenge went for his maiden show with a brace of tries as Ambaka and Injera supplemented with a try each to spank Western Province.
“The Morans were super but they will have to tighten on their contact and physical play so as to create a direct line of space,” said Kenya Sevens head coach Mike Friday.
Friday said Shujaa should seek to maintain its superb defense and set up a leeway for attack. “Shujaa had some basic errors but I am happy everybody enjoyed. However, it doesn’t matter what happened on day one but we hope for a better display on the final day.”