By Ayumba Ayodi
Kenya Sevens beat Russia 24-21 and Portugal 38-0 respectively to reach their fourth consecutive Cup quarterfinals at the Las Vegas Sevens on Saturday.
Billy Odhiambo rescued Kenya in their opening duel against Russia when he scored the winning try at the death.
Kenya had squandered a 19-7 lead at half time as the determined Russians rallied superbly, winning possession at breakdowns to take a 21-19 lead with two minutes to go.
Benjamin Ayimba’s charges had taken the comfortable lead with tries from Emonyi siblings Humphrey Kayange and Collins Injera in addition to Odhiambo’s try.
Biko Adema converted two for the 19-0 lead only for Dmitriy Perov to convert G. Davydov’s try for their half time score.
Kenya would slacken at their lines to let Vladimir Ostroushko and Davydov weave through to cross the line as Perov converted both before Odhiambo struck at the death to hand Benjamin Ayimba’s charges victory.
Against hapless Portugal, Kayange and Oscar Ouma crossed the line before Injera touched down twice as Adema converted both for a 26-0 lead at the break. It was Kayange’s 151st try as Injera’s exploits took his overall series tally to 217 – three short of England legend Ben Gollings – who is second in the all-time top try scorers’ list.
Kenya was not done yet as they added two more tries after the break from Adema and Leonard Mugaisi.
Injera could go second after Las Vegas, the fifth leg of the 2015/2016 Series as the speedster also aims to close in on the all-time top scorer Santiago Gomez, who has 230 tries. Gomez is the current Argentina Sevens coach.
Kenya will take on New Zealand to decide Pool “A” winner after the All Blacks, winners of Wellington and Sydney, beat Portugal 42-7 and Russia 38-0.
SOUTH AFRICA THROUGH
South Africa and Australia also confirmed their spots in the Cup quarter-finals after the opening two rounds of matches in Las Vegas.
South Africa won both of their matches on day one with Bryan Habana returning to rugby sevens after a 12-year absence to score one of the tries of the day as the Blitzboks opened up with a 33-7 win over Canada before Seabelo Senatla scored a hat-trick in their 36-7 win over Wales, taking his tally for the day to five and 30 for the season.
Canada bounced back from their defeat to Neil Powell’s side to draw 26-26 with hosts USA with both sides aiming to take the second qualification spot from Pool D.
The hosts won their opening match 19-12 against Wales before the enthralling draw with North American rivals and next week’s hosts Canada. Having led 26-7 thanks to two superb tries from Perry Baker, Conor Trainor, Nathan Hirayama and Phil Mack, playing in his 50th tournament, drew the scores level to leave it all to play for in Pool D.
Source: All Africa