Hard nut Fiji crush Kenya’s dream in Hong Kong Sevens final


Hard nut Fiji crush Kenya's dream in Hong Kong Sevens final
Kenya's Jeffery Oluoch is tackled during the World Rugby Sevens Series match between Samoa and Kenya at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on February 3, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL BRADLEY

In Summary

  • Ridiculous mistakes by the most experienced players Willy Ambaka and Collins Injera in the first half cost  Kenyan their first ever Hong Kong title, losing 24-12 to Fiji on Sunday afternoon.
  •  In what was a repeat of the Vancouver Sevens final, Kenya locked horns with the mighty Fijians in a tantalizing fashion at the Hong Kong Stadium but could not get a way past the gritty Fiji.

Ridiculous mistakes by the most experienced players Willy Ambaka and Collins Injera in the first half cost  Kenyan their first ever Hong Kong title, losing 24-12 to Fiji on Sunday afternoon.

In what was a repeat of the Vancouver Sevens final, Kenya locked horns with the mighty Fijians in a tantalizing fashion at the Hong Kong Stadium but could not get a way past the gritty Fiji.

Fiji scored four tries and converted two against Kenya’s Billy Odhiambo and Skipper Oscar Ouma which was converted by Eden Agero for a 24-12 win for the Fijians.

The Fijians were first to score through Josua Vakurunabili who won a one-on-one attempt on the try box and it’s was an early nerve-settler for Fiji, after a miscommunication in the Kenyan defence to score on the far corner which they failed to convert.

Shujaa remained focused showing intent of causing an upset but “Big Willy”Ambaka took out Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai who looked  like he had flown over the line but the stretch from Ambaka was excellent after dislodging the ball out of Tuwai’s hands in the act-of-scoring .

Injera lost his cool in the process of the given penalty and was sin binned for a tap in Fiji’s scrumhalf Tuwai crutch leaving the Kenyans disadvantaged with six men left on the field and time ticking first.

Thereafter, Fiji threatened  through Joshua Vakurunabili but fell short after he tried to offload to a charging teammate, but as he off loaded, Ambaka took off Samisoni Viriviri the ball and with it came a yellow card, leaving Kenya for dead, and with only five men.

With Shujaa disadvantaged and down 10-0 they tried to possess the ball awaiting Injera’s return, but were exhausted.

It was just a matter of time before they were punished yet again. Player of the tournament Amenoni Nasilasila went over converting his own try for a 17-0 lead at the intervals.

Shujaa were buoyed by the return of both Injera and Ambaka soon after the break and their impact was felt and a patient build-up from the forwards led to a mistake by Fijians which Mwamba RFC centre Billy Odhiambo easily took advantage of for a five pointer but were still trailing 17-5.

Fiji’s response was a super try .Amenoni Nasilasila, who has been electric all weekend, sliced through a weak Kenya decisive line and crossed the whitewash gallantly to hand it back to his team-mate Vatemo Ravouvou who touched down the ball for a 24-5 lead.

Skipper Oscar Ouma who made it to the Hong Kong Sevens dream team then took matter into his own hands with powerful runs surging to the line for a converted try for 24-12 score line; to the delight of the supporting crowd but it was enough to snatch the title .

Kenya maintains their position seven with 81 points with three legs remaining to the end of the HSBC Sevens Series while Fiji retains their second position with 123 points after seven rounds.

Shujaa are in Pool B of the Singapore Sevens to be played on April 28-29 alongside England, France and the USA.

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Story By Benson Mbare
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