Kenya stun Fiji to win their first ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returned to Singapore after nearly a 10 year hiatus. It was an action packed weekend that included the best teams from all over the world. The group stages did not include many shockers apart from New Zealand and Australia finishing second in their pools. This meant they would have to face Fiji and South Africa, respectively, who were both considered the favorites at the start of the tournament.
The first day had an abundance of action but the second day is where those in the fully packed National Stadium could really see why they simply had to bring this entertaining tournament back. The quarter finals were intense as Fiji defeated Australia by the score of 19-14 as a result of a last second try. South Africa then edged out New Zealand 12-7 while Argentina won by the same scoreline versus Samoa. The real shocker came in the final quarter finals where Kenya dominated France 28-7 and established themselves as a dark horse of the tournament.
The semi finals were nothing short of amazing as two classics transpired. Fiji barely overcame South Africa 26-21 with a dramatic try to ensure their place in the final. The enthralling display of attack along with the spectacular atmosphere made sure it was a moment to enjoy. Just when you thought it could not get better Kenya booked themselves into a historic first-ever Cup final. With their semi final against Argentina due to go into extra time a penalty was slotted with the last play of the match that made sure Kenya won 15-12.
The 3rd and 4th place playoffs were slightly lacklustre as South Africa dismantled Argentina 28-0, yet we still saw some fantastic skills from the players, in particular Seabelo Senatla, who is one of the most highly rated players in the 7s.
Finally came the final, and it was a shocker. Kenya created one of the biggest upsets of all time as their attack and defense proved too much for the Fijians. The Kenyans overwhelmingly won 30-7 and although it was never close, those in Singapore were lucky enough to witness history as Kenya won their first ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title in 140 attempts.
Throughout the whole weekend Kenya’s Collins Injera shined and as a result was named the eighth HSBC player of the final. His highlights included stepping up to convert the penalty in the semi final against Argentina and also scoring two tries in the final against Fiji. Additionally the tries were his 224th and 225th career tries, leaving him just five short of Santiago Gomez Cora's record, and six from beating it. This weekend was delightful as we saw a new team emerge as a threat to the normal favorites such as Fiji. It is certainly obvious that Kenya have now joined the growing list of contenders for the Olympic gold medal in Rio.
Note: this article is a student opinion piece, submitted as part of a student-led Sports Journalism initiative