Kenya stun the mighty All Blacks in Vegas
Match 18 of the 2016 USA 7s will be long remembered by national sevens team Shujaa after they stunned New Zealand All Blacks 22-0 to take charge of Pool A at the Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday night.
Benjamin Ayimba’s boys head to the Main Cup quarters as pool winners after first half tries from the two Oscars- Ayodi and Ouma- in addition to a Biko Adema conversion gave them a 12-0 lead at the break.
Willy Ambaka’s converted try and Adema’s penalty completed the stunning upset as Kenya registered their first victory over the All Blacks since that sensational Main Cup victory at the 2013 Wellington 7s and most importantly, shut out the revered New Zealanders.
“Getting one over the big boys is good for us. Coming to this game, we needed some momentum going to the quarterfinals and you know New Zealand will always be tough.
“Everyone was on the same page, really focused well and execution was a big part of this game and we did it quite well especially in defence,” record try scorer and deputy captain, Collins Injera said after the game.
The All Blacks fell to Ayimba’s boys who recovered from almost blowing their advantage to beat Russia 24-21 before Portugal were swatted 38-0 in their opening Pool A encounters to seal their Cup quarters berth ahead of the crunch final game.
Kenya will play familiar foes and hosts, USA in the Main Cup quarters after former head coach Mike Friday’s side finished second in Pool D to South Africa’s Blitzbokke with Australia and Argentina winning Pool B and C.
“Good to see NZ taking part in the #BeyondZero campaign. God bless their souls, ” Friday tweeted in a dig at the All Blacks in homage to his former side he famously led to the Wellington 7s Cup finals in 2013 only to lose to England in extra time where he masterminded the epic defeat of the hosts in the semis.
“Signed, sealed, delivered… #Kenya7s beat the less than almighty New Zealand 22 nil,” Kenya Rugby 24/7 added on the same platform.
It was only the fourth win for Kenya in their 37 meetings with the All Blacks.
“In this match, we avoided the rucks and did not fully commit when they were in possession. It is a plus to top the pool but that does not mean we have an easier match in the quarter final. It really does not matter which team you meet in the nock out stages,” coach Ayimba who led Kenya to the semi finals of the 2009 World Cup Sevens acknowledged, saying the victory will be huge motivation as the team prepares for the summer Rio 2016 Olympics.
Adema, one of the outstanding players agreed with his coach stating, “We were instructed to play basic rugby and avoid making many mistakes while protecting the ball. This was a team effort.”
Kenya had an early run in the New Zealand 22 when captain Andrew Amonde found a crack in the defense but lost the ball. Ayodi scored the first try for Kenya in the second minute timing his angled run to perfection as Adema slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
The next try by Ouma in the fifth that was initiated by Humphrey Kayange. Adema missed the conversion. He attempted a drop goal after the hooter but was wide as Kenya led 12-0 at half time.
In the second half, Kayange nearly intercepted a New Zealand pass before the veteran was pulled off for Ambaka.
Barely one minute after his arrival, Ambaka scored another try near the corner flag. Adema converted to stretch the lead 19-0. Ayimba made further changes bringing in Dennis Ombachi and Samuel Oliech.
In the sixth minute, Kenya were awarded a penalty in front of the posts after Gillies Kaka was sent to the sin bin by South African referee Ben Cruse. Adema kicked over the penalty.
Additional reporting by The Punter
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