LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Energy erupts at Sam Boyd Stadium when the men’s teams not only fight each other, but fight the wind and others prove there is more to them than a Bolt of lightning Sunday.
Kenya may not have won the entire tournament, but they took home 6th place with an amazing display of tenacity, and proving that Kenya is more than Usain Bolt.
Kenya faced off against France, where Kenya’s #11 Collins Injera tackled a French ball carrier on the try line, which prevented France the opportunity to take the game into overtime. Injera repeated this less than 30 seconds later, but just over the try line, and prevented the ball from touching down as the clock ticked to zero. Kenya beat France 14-7.
Kenya faced Samoa for the Las Vegas Challenge Trophy match where Kenya led Samoa 14-0 at the half. Samoa answered with a rapid fire try, followed by a self snipe kick at Kenya’s 22 by Samoa’s #9 Tila Mealoi, which tied the game.
Kenya’s #8 Andrew Amonde stepped out of three tackles while weaving through Samoa’s defense to score the winning try for Kenya. The conversion attempt was good, and Kenya beat Samoa 21-14.
USA played New Zealand in the third place match, but USA held back New Zealand for most of the game. Then New Zealand’s #12 Sione Molia run nearly unopposed from his own 10-meter to score a try, which kick started New Zealand’s ability to out pace USA.
USA’s #6 Andrew Durutalo touched down a try after a high tackle penalty by New Zealand, which won the game in the last 30 seconds for USA, 19-15.
South Africa upset Olympic gold medalist team Fiji in the first place game, after Fiji’s #2 Sevuloni Mocenacagi earned himself a sinbin for a dangerous tackle. South Africa took advantage of the sinbin, and made Fiji pay dearly for it with try, after try, after try.
The wind nullified Fiji’s typical schoolyard ball offloads and creative passing, and in the last three seconds of the game, Mocenacagi created a dangerous situation.
Mocenacagi tackled South Africa’s #5 Werner Kok on kick off, while Kok was at the peak of his jump in the air to catch the ball. Kok initiated a fist fight with Mocenacagi, but their respective teams pulled them apart.
South Africa beat Fiji for first place, 19-12.
*Correction #1 (3/6/2017): original article stated that Kenya had finished 3rd at the HSBC USA 7s Tournament. Kenya faced Samoa for the Las Vegas Challenge trophy and finished 6th in the tournament
*Correction #2 (3/6/2017): original article stated that USA Men’s Eagles played New Zealand for the “losing cup”. USA Men’s Eagles defeated New Zealand to take the third place trophy