Kenya wins Singapore Sevens to create history. It was the second time for the Kenyans to appear in the final and it was memorable as they defeated the World Sevens Series leaders Fiji 30-7. They contained Fiji in all facets of play and will build on this heading to Europe.
It was a great tournament full of surprises from the get go and it was evident that it was going to be a historical weekend and it was for the Kenyans. Good too for the global game as a new winner is crowned apart from the usual contenders.
Singapore Sevens: THE LOWDOWN
Kenya wins Singapore Sevens to create history
Kenya opened the scoring from the start through Oscar Ayodi after good work from Willy Ambaka at the breakdow Collins Injera followed up with his 224th series try for a 10-0 lead and crossed again for his 225th to lead 15-0. Samuel Oilech took them to 20-0 after another win at the breakdown and they to the breather leading.
Fiji started well in the second half with Jerry Tuwai crossing over, making it a 7-20 lead to the Kenyans. Kenya replied through Nelson Ayoo to make it 25-7 and wrapped it up with another try at the end for a 30-7 victory.
Fiji left it late in their last two games against the Aussies and Blitzboks but had no answer against the mighty Kenyans in the final, no late comeback this time. They were over-run in the breakdown as they didn’t have the players to compete with the bigger Kenyans.
South Africa win Third Place Play-off
It was one way traffic for South Africa as they thrashed the Los Pumas 28-0. The Argentinians had no answer to the Blitzboks who lost to Fiji in the semis in heartbreaking fashion as they were dismantled in all facets of play, led by Kwagga Smith.
It was another semifinal loss for the Blitzboks and coach Neil Powell will try to go one better in the European leg as he welcomes back the core of the team that will make the trip to the Rio Olympics. They have what it takes, it’s just executing their game plan and putting games to bed that’s letting them down.
The South Africans lost 26-21 in the final seconds to Fiji after some magic from Amenoni Nasilasila, to match up with the Argentinians who also lost in the final moments to a Collin Injera penalty kick that had the Kenyan coach running to the field with his bench players and staff and send Kenya to their first final since 2013.
Samoa defends Plate title from 2006
For the first time since December 2012, the Samoans have beaten the New Zealand side at the hooter 26-21 thanks to Teddy Stanaway who tried to keep the ball alive from the touchline and his pass inside found ”bad boy” Tila Mealoi who raced away 40 meters to score as the Islanders defended their title from 2006.
The Kiwis went in to he game without Dylan Coolier and Kurt Baker who were injured in the semis against the Aussies. They were locked 7-all at the breather and 21-all with seconds to go but the stray pass was the difference as the Samoans pounced to win. The Kiwis will be back to full strength in the European leg as they will welcome back their Super Rugby stars.
The plate final had 13 points up for grabs for the winner and it was the lucky charm as the Islanders have lost their last 12 matches against the Kiwis. A great tournament for the Samoans as they continue their build-up.
The Kiwis accounted for their trans-Tasman rival Australia in the plate semis 31-7 while the Samoans completely shut down the French 21-7. They didn’t give them room to maneuver and they got lost. The Islanders contained the threat of Virimi Vakatawa very well to advance to the plate final.
Scotland win Bowl
The Scots held on in the end to repel the American onslaught in the final minutes of the Bowl final, winning it 14-10. The Americans only have Zack Test to blame as he wasted two golden opportunities to score points, opting to commit when he had players outside him that were free for a run in to the try-line.
It is this mental attitude that always let the Americans down at crucial moments, their decision making and inconsistency has always been their Achilles heel and it was evident again in the last two weeks in the Asian leg of the series.
The Scots however, have grown from last week and showing signs that if they put their mind to it they are unstoppable it’s only a matter of being consistent that will see them stay with the pacesetters. They did well for all the Home teams (Wales, England, Scotland) appearing this weekend.
The English couldn’t held on to their lead in the semis to the Scots to lose 14-19 while the Americans walloped the Portuguese 26-0 but the Lobos have gained valuable points that draws them closer to Russia heading to the European leg as the battle for survival continues.
Russia wins back-to-back Shield title
The Russians continue their dominance in the shield as they won back-to-back title again here at the Singapore Sevens over a fatigued nine-men Welsh side 24-7. It was the Bears from the start and the Scarlets had no answer. As the Series heads to Europe the Russians look set to keep their core status while the Welsh will try to rope in players who want to stake a claim for that Great Britain side to the Rio Olympics.
In the semifinals, Russia scored late to beat the Japanese 17-15 while Wales did the same with Canada 24-22.
DHL Player Of The Final
Collins Injera (Kenya): He played well and led his side to their maiden victory in HSBC World Sevens Series.
DHL Impact Player Of The Tournament
Oscar Ayodi (Kenya) and Kitione Taliga (Fiji) share the honors in Singapore
Singapore Sevens Dream Team
Jasa Veremalua (Fiji), Willy Ambaka (Kenya), Kwagga Smith (RSA), Axel Muller (Argentina), Seabelo Senatla (RSA), Kitione Taliga (Fiji), Virimi Vakatawa (France).
World Sevens Series Table
Fiji – 147 points
South Africa – 139
New Zealand – 135
Australia – 115
USA – 95
Argentina – 92
Kenya – 85
England – 75
Samoa – 62
France – 58
Scotland – 57
Wales – 44
Canada – 34
Japan – 21
Russia – 21
Portugal – 17
As the curtain falls in Singapore the Kenyans celebrate and the rest of the teams look forward to the European leg. Eight points separates Fiji and South Africa, four points between second and third, the Kiwis, who are bringing in reinforcements, as are the Blitzboks and Fiji. It is all to play for in Paris and London.
A battle royale too will be between the Lobos and Bears as they try to retain their core status. iIt will be do-or-die for both teams. The Portuguese have been around for a long time while the Russians are new this season but are trying their utmost to keep their spot with the elites of the game.
Follow all THE LOWDOWN of the European leg of HSBC World Sevens Series here on Last Word On Sports.