Hong Kong Sevens

Kenya finish on a high after earlier disappointment

East Africans put the pain of pool match defeat to Wales behind them with three-try triumph

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2014, 11:19pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2014, 11:29pm

Disappointed by some poor performances over the weekend, Kenya finished on a high by defeating Portugal 17-10 in the Shield final.

Kenya captain Collins Injera and his teammates had big smiles on their faces at the trophy presentation, which had clearly been missing over the first two days of the tournament.

"In the Shield final we played in a defensive way to prevail. We wanted to win and get the three [World Series] points," said Injera, who scored two of Kenya's three tries.

It would be good if we can have a top-five finish overall at the end of this season
Collins Injera

"We were not doing well here as we made too many mistakes in previous matches. Our team should have won the pool match against Wales.

"In the next two tournaments we must aim high. It would be good if we can have a top-five finish overall at the end of this season."

Coach Paul Treu was also disappointed by the defeat to Wales on Saturday.

"That was unexpected. It pushed our team down [to the Shield final], but at least this triumph helped us finish the tournament on a high," said Treu, who coached South Africa last season.

"I hope our players can learn from this tournament and in the future they can implement the skills they acquired from training since our formation before the Dubai Sevens last November."

Pedro Leal, Portugal's captain, said the higher ranked Kenyans - they are in seventh place compared to Portugal's lowly 14th - were obviously the favourites but they could have upset the apple cart.

"We had a chance to win the match. We could have scored another try in the second half but we failed," said Leal, who was competing at his eighth Hong Kong Sevens.

"This year our team's priority goes to the XVs World Cup qualification. Many of our veterans are with the XV team. We are here with only four seniors and other members are all new," said Leal.

"I hope the atmosphere here can give the young guys incentive to fight for another final spot next year."

Pedro Netto, Portugal's coach, hopes the team can end the season strong and finish ahead of Spain to avoid relegation and qualify for the Olympic Games.

"Except the host country Brazil, I don't think any of the remaining 11 teams joining the Olympics in 2016 will be without core-team status in the series.

"Therefore we hope our team can secure a spot in the series, and then fight for a higher ranking next season to get well prepared for the Olympic qualifications next year," said Netto.

Portugal's points came from tries from Duarte Moreira in the first half and Aderito Esteves in the second.

Kenya sent the Spaniards home 12-7 in the Shield semi-final, while Portugal eliminated Sri Lanka 24-19.