James Magayi @magayijim
World Rugby Sevens Series Cup semi-finals once again proved a barrier too strong for the gallant Kenyan team to break through after being eliminated in the last eight of Las Vegas leg by Argentina on Sunday morning.
Kenya Shujaa had ramped up fanatic fever among followers ahead of the third quarterfinal at a packed Sam Boyd stadium by beating South Pacific giants Fiji 14-17 in the last pool match and qualifier group runners up.
The high anticipation fizzled out soon after kick-off as Innocent Simiyu’s search for his first semifinal appearance ended in anti-climax with the 17-12 loss at the hands of Argentina.
Argentina capitalized on a costly lull to go ahead after three minutes. It took Kenya great industry to get back in the contest as a neat series of passes from fit again Collins Injera, to Willy Ambaka set up fleet-footed Nelson Oyoo in the far left. Oyoo engaged full gear and whizzed passed one opponent speeding to touch down Kenya’s reply.
Kicker Eden Agero shot between the sticks and Kenya were level with Argentina in the fifth minute. The South Americans however, capitalised on another defensive lapse to ground a try late in the half for a 12-7 half time lead. Indefatigable William Ambaka pulled Kenya back up soon after restart with his trademark power run but Agero failed to score the resultant conversion.
The contest bore no tries as both teams defended excellently and the match wound up to final minute when Argentina found the breakthrough to land a fatal blow to Kenya’s semifinal quest. Shujaa consequently dropped to the fifth place semi-final where they were due to play Australia.
The team had earlier scored at the death to book the quarterfinal slot at the expense of France in Pool A. Group winners Fiji and France seemed set for the last eight having seven points each with Shujaa’s only hope of progressing hinged on their performance against Fiji.
Kenya rallied from early setbacks to beat the Fijians 17-14 and book their fourth last-eight appearance in five legs of the World Rugby Series. France were condemned to the Challenge Trophy despite being level on points with Fiji and Kenya.
Fiji got on the score-sheet after four minutes of but Kenya replied in the seventh minute courtesy of Injera who powered past two challengers to ground his try with Agero converting for a seven all halftime score line. Ambaka put Kenya ahead a minute into the second half with Agero missing the conversion.
An opportunistic Fijian finish wiped out the 12-7 lead and Kenya seemed to be on their way out with time running out. Sheer power and determination from Injera and Amonde saw the later force a try at the death to steal victory for Kenya and qualify for the quarters.
Kenya 14-19 France Kenya 19-12 Russia Kenya 17-14 Fiji Kenya 12-17 Argentina –Cup quarters quickly tickled one progressive poison. The very quixotic botulisms easily tastes two tickets. Umpteen Jabberwockies untangles Darin. Mats towed one dwarf. Putrid trailers comfortably tastes five lampstands. Dwarves auctioned off five tickets. Quixotic chrysanthemums