Sunday February 3, 2013
England snatch Sevens victory from Kenya in extra time
WELLINGTON: England snatched a 24-19 victory in extra time over emerging rugby power Kenya to claim the fourth round of the IRB Sevens World Series in a cliffhanger showdown at Westpac Stadium yesterday.
With regulation time up, and novice finalists Kenya clinging to a 19-12 lead, it looked as if the Sevens series in New Zealand was about to see its biggest upset.
However, yellow cards had reduced Kenya to five men allowing England flyer Christian Lewis-Pratt to capitalise on the two-man advantage with a converted try which levelled the scores.
Two minutes into extra time Sam Edgerley crossed for the winning try but the after-match focus was more on Kenya’s growing reputation as a Sevens force than England’s victory.
Kenya, who knocked series leaders New Zealand out of the semi-finals, have made huge strides in Sevens rugby after reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Dubai four years ago.
In the current world series, under new coach and former England mentor Mike Friday, they finished fourth in Australia and third in Dubai before breaking through to the finals here.
“The Kenyan team were incredible. It’s one of the toughest games I’ve ever played in. The physical limits were pushed beyond today,” England captain Mike Powell said.
The first four legs of the series have now produced four different tournament winners with Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand all claiming earlier rounds.
New Zealand, who lead the series, failed to make the final and had to be content with beating Samoa 17-7 in the playoff for third. — AFP