NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – Dan Bibby converted a last ditch penalty as Kenya’s hopes of successfully defending their Singapore Sevens title went up in smoke following a 13-12 loss to England in the Main Cup Quarter Finals on Sunday morning.
Shujaa who have never beaten England since 2011 let off a 12 point with England scoring a try at the extreme end of the first half and at the start of the second half with Bibby’s penalty after the hooter breaking the hearts of the defending champions.
Kenya had let off the lead via two basic mistakes; a forward pass from Bush Mwale intended for Nelson Oyoo led to England’s first half try while in the second half, Eden Agero mishandled a Sammy Oliech pass to give possession back to the English.
Shujaa had started the quarter final on a high with Oliech dotting down after a brilliant run and adding in the extras as Kenya led 7-0. Frank Wanyama then took Kenya 12-5 up with another well taken try but Oliech this time round failed to add in the conversion.
With the clock ticking, England turned the heat on Kenya and from the scrum resulting in Mwale’s forward pass, Phil Burgess touched down on the left to cut the deficit.
Billy Odhiambo had done well to put in a try saving tackle but Kenya failed to win back possession and Burgess managed to shake off the chasing pack to dot down.
At the start of the second half, speed-star Dan Norton managed to dot down for his 250th career try, moving six away from Kenya’s Collins Injera.
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After Agero failed to handle well a pass from Oliech, England won back possession with Norton racing down on the left and despite Nelson Oyoo’s last ditch effort at tackling him down, the England man known for his bullet pace was yards off the try line and he stretched out to cut the deficit to two points.
From the restart, England won possession again and Norton was handed the ball, trying a kick and chase for a try but Brian Tanga outpaced him, winning possession.
The Kenyans chose to kick the ball upfield and England won it back before it went off the field of play. They patiently built up into Kenya’s 22 and their persistence paid off with a penalty just under the posts after the hooter had gone.
Bibby looked up and saw he was within firing range, and he did not make a mistake sending the ball between the sticks and breaking the Kenyan hearts.
Kenya’s next tie will be against New Zealand in the 5th place semi finals. This was only the second time this season the Kenyans were qualifying for the Main Cup quarters.