Kenya Harlequin Head Coach Charles Cardovillis believes that the 2016 National Sevens Series is anyone’s title after seeing his side lift the Driftwood Sevens title this past weekend.
Harlequin became the third different franchise to win a Sevens Series leg this season after edging Menengai Homeboyz 19-14 in the final hosted at the Mombasa Sports Club, Sunday (Aug 21).
Hosea Odhiambo was the hero for now ‘la decima’ Driftwood winners Harlequin, crossing over at the death to give his side victory and their first Driftwood title in exactly a decade.
It was Quins’ first final this season having missed out in the Prinsloo and Kabeberi Sevens which were won by Impala Saracens and Homeboyz respectively.
Bullied but came out tops
Cardovillis told Kenya Rugby: “Homeboyz bullied us a lot, especially at the contact area, but the boys kept calm. Our subs came off the bench and did what they had to do.
“I am very happy for the lads out there. It’s just the way we wanted to end the three part series before we go into the break and then now launch ourselves towards going for the main title from the Dala Sevens.”
Homeboyz, the Prinsloo 7s champions, got the better start when Charles Omondi touched down after being set up by former Kenya Sevens player Mike Wanjala, and with Humphrey Owuor converting, they took a 7-0 lead.
However, Quins restored parity through Eric Shikuku’s try and Felix Ayange conversion, the two giants going into the break leveled 7-7.
Homeboyz again were the better starters after the interval, restoring their 7-point lead after the break with Ayange taking the try-scoring duties and Owuor converting. Quins however dug deep once again and Frank Wanyama’s converted leveled the scores 14-14.
Substitute Kevin Keegan did all the hard work before laying it on a platter for Hosea Odhiambo who could not afford to make any mistake, going over the chalk to give Quins the title.
Homeboyz were left cursing at their luck after finishing second for a second leg running having lost to Impala Saracens at Kabeberi Sevens. The last three legs have now been shared by three franchises and Cardovillis believes this could be the tightest race in years.
“It’s not on the heart for some of us who are coaching, but as a neutral it is perfect, it is good for Kenyan rugby, it will be very interesting to see how we go into the next three legs and how teams prepare.
“Homeboyz have built a lead but we’ve cut the lead with our win. We’ll keep pushing them. Strathmore look very impressive, especially after losing many players, they look very tidy. Then there’s Kabras coming out of nowhere, it is anyone’s race, anything can happen in the game of sevens…so we just keep pushing and try to win every tournament.”
Strathmore Leos beat Kabras Sugar 12-7 to finish third while KCB beat Saracens 17-5 in the plate final.
The bowl went to Topfry Nakuru who beat Menengai Oilers 14-0 while Daystar Falcons lifted the Shield after a 24-5 victor over Kisii RFC.
Kabras Sugar’s John Aluda Beda was named the MVP.
Kenya versus Hong Kong
The series, which heads to Kisumu for the September 3-4 Dala Sevens, will take a one week break to pave way for Kenya A’s test match against Hong Kong on Tuesday August 23, 2016 at Impala Club from 7pm. The clash has been given test status by World Rugby.
Kenya A Squad for Hong Kong
1. Oscar Simiyu 2. Phillip Ikambili 3. Dennis Karani, 4. George Nyambua, 5. Eric Kerrre, 6. Martin Owila 7.Dan Sikuta 8.Edwin Machanje 9.Kelvin Masai 10. Innocent Simiyu (C) 11.Cyprian Kuto 12.Patrice Agunda 13.Peter Kilonzo 14. Enock Makinga, 15. Michael Agevi
15. Geore Asin 17.Stephen Juma 18.Hillary Mwajilwa 19.Charlton Mokua 20.Tyson Okoth 21.Leonard Mugaisi 22.Dennis Muhanji 23.Samson Onsomu
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