Hosts USA hit Kenya in Las Vegas Sevens quarters

Ayimbas’ boys fail to reach semis despite beating New Zealand.

Monday March 7 2016

Billy Odhiambo of Kenya out runs United States defenders as he carries the ball for a try during the USA Sevens Rugby tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO | AFP

Billy Odhiambo of Kenya out runs United States defenders as he carries the ball for a try during the USA Sevens Rugby tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO | AFP  

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya’s much-celebrated 22-0 victory over New Zealand on Day Two of the Las Vegas Sevens on Sunday failed to inspire the team as they succumbed to hosts USA 14-26 to drop to the Plate semi-finals.

Danny Barrett put Mike Friday’s USA ahead when he picked a great line after Garrett Bender’s spade work to ground under the posts for a 7-0 lead in the thrilling Cup quarter-final duel.

The Americans were dominant at the ruck with good possession for an attack that the deadly and speedy Perry Baker finished off to stretch their lead to 14-0.

However, Kenya staged a strong comeback with Collins Injera and Billy Odhiambo crossing for tries to silence the partisan crowd.

Biko Adema nailed both conversions to level 14-14 at the break.

It was Injera’s fourth try of the weekend that took his tally 218 tries, three short of England legend Ben Gollings, who is second in the all-time list.

The hosts proved clinical on return when Martin Iosefo cashed in on Kenya’s sloppy defence to score and extend the US’ lead to 21-14.

The Kenyans were punished further when Zack Test sliced through another gap after great work from Danny Barrett at the breakdown to cross the line for USA victory.

The Americans’ win brought down the high-flying Kenyans who had beaten Wellington and Sydney Sevens champions New Zealand for the first time in three years to emphatically top Pool “A”.

SECOND CUP SEMIS

The defeat ended Kenya’s hope of making their second Cup semi-finals this season since Cape Town Sevens where they finished fourth. 
New Zealand and Argentina were to face-off in the other Plate semi.

All Blacks lost to Cape Town Sevens champions South Africa 7-14 while Argentina fell to 12-26 to Australia. USA were to play Fiji in the semi-finals.

Fiji booked a place in the last four with a routine 43-7 win against Japan. Three-time USA Sevens champions South Africa come up against Australia in the other semi.

Oscar Ayodi and Oscar Ouma scored but Adema missed one conversion in addition to a penalty as Kenya led All Blacks 12-0 at the break. Adema then converted substitute William Ambaka’s try before slotting over a penalty for the victory.

The last time the teams had met was at Wellington Sevens Cup quarters where All Blacks triumphed 36-0.

It was Kenya Sevens first win against the All Blacks Sevens since the 2013 Wellington Sevens when Mike Friday was Kenya Sevens coach. The team also topped their pool for the first time since cape Town Sevens in December.

Kenya were due to play Japan in the Plate semi-final late Sunday night with a potential final showdown with New Zealand for the silverware and 13 points.