Voice of Sport

Tough for Kenya who fall to best teams in tournament — South Africa, New Zealand

‘It would have been nice to finish fifth; in game against New Zealand we played really well, but there’s room for improvement,’ says Coach Paul Treu


KENYA’S campaign in the Commonwealth Games Sevens rugby ran into the two most supreme teams in the world and it was no shame that the East Africans came short.

In the crucial last match of their Pool ‘B’ , Kenya were blown away 20-0 by South Africa, throwing them on the course of a quarter final with New Zealand, the team that had not lost a match in four victorious Commonwealth Games.

Derailed

Kenya gave it their all, sweating blood but were eliminated from the medal run by New Zealand who won 19-7. The Kenyans were then disappointing against Wales, making too many mistakes to go down 28-5 and storm out of the Plate semi-finals. But that wasn’t where their ambitions lay and clearly they could not pick themselves after being knocked off the main prize.

The South Africans who first derailed Kenyan plans were enthralling and there was not a team in the world that would have stood against the Neil Powell coached side. Congratulations for South Africa rang round the world for winning Gold, with a great 17-12 victory job over New Zealand in the Final.

End of reign

The South Africans ended New Zealand’s iron grip on the Rugby Sevens Gold medal. Blitzbokke showed there was a new player in town with a result that saw New Zealand’s winning streak abruptly end at 30.

The men in black hadn’t lost a single match since the sport was introduced at the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

South Africa had been the most impressive team all week and turned that promise into paydirt in the decider.

Injury

They raced out to a winning lead and held on late as New Zealand huffed and puffed but couldn’t deliver the knockout blow. Not even the early loss of influential skipper Kyle Brown, who was replaced after just two minutes with nasty-looking shoulder injury, could stop Blitzbokke.

Seabelo Senata was the star for the Africans, scoring twice to take his tournament tally to 11 and helping his side take two steps up the podium after taking out bronze in Delhi in 2010.

Big teams

The eight quarter final teams were the top teams in the world with exception of Fiji who are not at the Games. Failing to make the top four would disappoint not only the Kenyans but illustrious teams such as England, former World Champions Wales and the recently vastly improved Canada.

The knowledgeable saw the Kenyan team as having stayed in the mix and thrown the right punches in the tournament.

Set-back

The Kenyans also rued the set-back of injuries suffered to crucial players Humphrey Kayange, Billy Odhiambo and Felix Ayange.

Under the circumstances, Coach Paul Treu said: “It would have been nice to finish fifth. [We are] Getting there, but need to take opportunities. [We are] Improving defensively. In the game against New Zealand we honestly played well; only silly mistakes costed [us].

“Let’s discuss and map a way forward, there is room for improvement,” he said. He acknowledged their better adversaries, obviously looking forward to more battles ahead.

Well done

To South Africa he said: “You guys are the best. Well done Neil Powell and the boys; [you] gave it everything and left nothing on the park.”

And to other teams: “Congratulations Australia on taking the bronze….Good to see Samoa are back and competing under the boss man.”

2014 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens:

Results:

GOLD: South Africa 17-12 New Zealand

SILVER: New Zealand

BRONZE: Australia 24-0 Samoa

Plate Final: England 17-15 Wales

Plate Semi-finals:

England 15-12 Scotland

Wales 28-5 Kenya

Main Cup quarter finals: New Zealand 19-7 Kenya

Pool ‘B’:

–          South Africa 20-0 Kenya

–          Kenya 38-5 Trinidad & Tobago

–          Kenya 28-0 Cook Islands

Gold Medal winner, Commonwealth Games:

1998 (Kuala Lumpur): New Zealand

2002 (Manchester): New Zealand

2006 (Melbourne): New Zealand

2010 (New Delhi): New Zealand

2014 (Glasgow): South Africa