Kenya Sevens men’s ambition at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro suffered a major blow after they fell to their second loss in pool matches against heavyweights New Zealand early on Wednesday morning.
The 28-5 loss meant that Benjamin Ayimba’s men have missed out on a top two finish in Pool C that also includes Great Britain and Japan.
Prior to the team’s Olympic debut, Ayimba had repeatedly stated that the team’s objective is to strike gold at the Rio Games.
But after two successive defeats, Ayimba conceded that the team is now in a very precarious position.
“Unless a miracle happens, we have a very slim chance of progressing further in the competition,” Ayimba said.
Kenya gave a much improved performance against New Zealand with IRB World Series all-time leading try scorer Collins Injera scoring the first try of the game.
Injera would then turn villain by getting himself sinbinned and gifting New Zealand a penalty try. New Zealand capitalised on the numerical advantage stretching their lead to 14-5 at the break.
Kenya’s resistance finally crumbled as Augustine Pulu scored a converted try to widen the gap to 21-5.
And there was still time for New Zealand to score one more try through Lewis Ormond with the last play of the game for a final score of 28-5.
The game against the world champions was always going to be a complicated one for Kenya, especially after they lost 31-7 to the Britons in their opening match on Tuesday evening.
In the first match, Kenya really never got off the blocks and were also guilty of handling errors and indecisive tackling.
“It’s not what we had planned for. We started very badly and we have to pick ourselves up in the next game,” skipper Andrew Amonde said.
“We also lost a lot of possession more so in the first half when we were unable to keep possession.”
Still, the improved showing that the team had hoped for proved to be a tough act against the superior New Zealand.
Save for Humphrey Kayange, whose place was taken by Oscar Ouma, Ayimba stuck with the same squad that he picked against Great Britain.
In another Pool C match, Great Britain got a big scare from Japan before winning 21-19.
Source: The Nation.