SINGAPORE: Kenya shocked Fiji 30-7 in the final of the Singapore Rugby Sevens yesterday to claim its first World Series title.
Collins Injera scored two of Kenya’s six tries as the African team won the Cup competition at a World Series leg for the first time in 114 tournaments, adding their name to the list of prospective Olympics gold medalists in Rio de Janiero later this year.
Fiji entered the tournament as the World Series leader and favorite but were overwhelmed in the final by Kenya which jumped out to a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Injera scored twice in the first half and Kenya snuffed out a brief Fiji rally after halftime, scoring two late tries to win convincingly.
Fiji entered the tournament with a five point lead over New Zealand in the World Series table after seven of 10 tournaments. They were still able to extend that lead as they took second place in Singapore, while their closest challengers perished in the earlier rounds.
New Zealand, which suffered a shock 24-0 loss to France in pool play, went down 12-7 to South Africa in Sunday’s quarterfinals. It then suffered a 26-21 loss to Samoa in the plate final — its first loss to Samoa at a World Series tournament since 2012.
South Africa beat Argentina 28-0 in the playoff for third place to leapfrog New Zealand into second in the World Series table, eight points behind Fiji. New Zealand is in third place a further six points behind South Africa.
Kenya outplayed Fiji in the final to make light of its world ranking of eighth. Oscar Ayodi opened the scoring for an early 5-0 lead and Injera scored his 224th World Series try to make the lead 10-0 midway through the first half.
Injera scored again minutes later when a Fiji attack broke down, making the lead 15-0 which beame 20-0 shortly before halftime with another unconverted try to Samuel Oliech.
Fiji coach Ben Ryan said his team suffered “a brain explosion” in the first half and hoped his players would settle the game in the second spell. That seemed likely when Jerry Tuwai and Vatemo Ravouvou scored shortly after the break.
But Kenya kept control of the match and extended its lead with tries to Nelson Oyoo and Frank Wanyama.