Kenya stutter against Canada in Hong Kong 7s opener

The Kenya national rugby sevens team Shujaa hurdle before their match against Canada at the ...
The Kenya national rugby sevens team Shujaa hurdle before their match against Canada at the Hong Kong HSBC World Series (PHOTO/Jan Perlich)

Playing in their new lime green colors, the national sevens rugby team suffered a 17-14 opening setback against Canada at the HSBC Series in Hong Kong on a day Englishman Dan Norton unseated Collins Injera as the all-time try leading scorer.

The Shujaa found themselves on the back foot as Canada’s Luke McCloskey backed himself to outpace Sammy Oliech to score a try with Nathan Hirayama who was celebrating his 50th tournament adding the extras for a 7 – 0 advantage.

Rattled by the try, Kenya almost responded but some enterprising play by Sammy Oliech and Dennis Ombachi resulted in an unforced error that broke down their build up play.

Canada almost added another five-pointer at the interval but they knocked on the ball in Shujaa’s try line.

The scoreboard read 7 – 0 at the break in favor of the Canadians leaving Kenya with a lot to ponder in the remaining 7minutes after the restart.

They came off the blocks flying as Dennis Ombachi spotted a gap in the Canadian defense side-stepping his way past three defenders to score between the uprights as Oliech drew level on 7 – 7.

An infringement by Kenya gifted Canada a chance to break the deadlock with Nathan Hirayama chipping the ball to teammate Harry Jones to recover and score the North Americans second try;  Hirayama made light work of the subsequent extra points.

It was a Ping-Pong affair as Kenya’s Nelson Oyoo displayed a clean pair of heels following a patient build up to restore parity.

With the end of the match looming large, Injera was adjudged offside in the Kenyan 22 and the Canadians opted to take a penalty kick.

Hirayama won the match with the final kick of the day as he successfully converted to seal a 17 – 14 victory.

Kenya will regroup ahead of their next group match; a tougher encounter against series leaders South Africa on Saturday at 8.56am local time (+GMT).

It was against South Korea that England flyer soared above Injera to the summit of the league’s most prolifc tryscorers with one of his side’s 8 tries in their 52 – 0 demolition of their hapless opponents.

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Story By Bernard Ndong
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