Kenya stunned defending champions Fiji with a superb performance to clinch their first-ever World Rugby Sevens Series crown as the event in Singapore drew to a dramatic close.
The African nation, considered the firm outsiders in the final, blew their opponents away as they ran in 20 unanswered first-half points to move to the brink of victory.
Collins Injera, who was later named as the player of the final, ran in two tries to help his side complete the job against the Fijians, led by coach Ben Ryan, eventually ending as 30-7 victors.
Oscar Ayodi, Nelson Oyoo, Frank Wanyama and Samuel Oliech also crossed over for Kenya, with Jerry Tuwai’s second-half try proving little more than a consolation.
Despite the shock defeat to Kenya, currently ranked at eighth in the world, Fiji were able to extend their lead at the summit of the Series leaderboard to eight points after they overcame South Africa, now their nearest challengers for the overall title, in the semi-final.
Fiji came into the last four clash having needed to fight back from behind to get past Australia 19-14 and decisive scores from Amenoni Nasilasila and Alivereti Veitokani guided them to a 26-21 success against the Blitzboks.
Injera also proved crucial in Kenya surprisingly reaching the tournament’s showpiece finale as his last-gasp drop goal saw them edge a hard-fought semi-final with a 15-12 win over Argentina.
South Africa went on to comprehensively beat the South American outfit 28-0 in the third-place play-off to ensure they didn’t lose further ground on Fiji.
It proved to be a disappointing outing in Singapore for New Zealand, who dropped to third on the standings after losing 26-21 to Samoa in the plate final.
Scotland edged the United States 14-10 to secure the bowl, while Russia comfortably ousted Wales 24-7 to win the shield.
“We are delighted about the event in Singapore,” said Philippe Bourdarias, World Rugby general manager for competitions.
“Close to 50,000 people attended the event and the atmosphere was fantastic.
“The players were also delighted and enjoyed the local hospitality and we look forward to coming back next year.
“We would also like to congratulate and thank the Singapore Rugby Union for the organisation of a successful tournament.”
- By Liam Morgan
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz