It was a tale of two matches during the second round of pool D play of the USA Sevens Tournament – one that came down to the buzzer, and one that could have ended after the first score.
Kenya had the easier of two bouts, taking on Brazil in a 38-0 rout. Collins Injera put in a hat trick performance, while David Ambunya, Humphrey Kayange and Horace Otieno also added tries.
Brazil might have been a little beaten up from their match against England hours earlier, but they maintained their tenacity and incredible work rate. But at the end of the day, they were outmuscled, outpaced and overwhelmed.
Tries came around the corner, splitting defenders and fending off tacklers. England had no easy walk in its 12-7 win over Scotland. In fact, it came down to the final play of the game before the winner was decided.
England put their first points on the board after a series of hard punches up the middle from 10 meters out. After one too many Scotland defenders committed to the tackle, the ball spun wide to Dan Norton unguarded – and all too common scene. Christian Lewis-Pratt’s conversion ricocheted off and over the post for the 7-0 lead.
As the half wound down, Scotland squandered a little momentum, getting breaks into England’s territory but watching subsequent phases die due to insufficient support.
But Scotland made up for it in the second half when Sean Kennedy dotted below the post after two-and-a-half minutes. Colin Gregor made the integral conversion to tie it up.
For the next five minutes, the teams battered away at each other, and the whistle was poised to blow, England had what would have been an untouched try recalled due to a penalty. It was a lucky break for Scotland but they were penalized shortly afterward. England made good on the opportunity, sending Lewis-Pratt diving over the line for the try, 12-7.
“England and Scotland – that goes back through history,” England’s Isoa Damu commented on the physicality of the match. “We need to be patient. There were times when we lost the ball, or gave the ball to Scotland.”
That said, Damu and teammates were never doubted that they’d pull off the win. “We’re pleased with our performance so far,” Damu continued. “We look forward to tomorrow [against Kenya]. They’re a difficult team to beat and no matter where they travel, they bring their fans.”
England and Kenya advance to the Cup round and will decide who will take the top seed out of the pool.
Pool D - Round 2
Tries: Injera 3, Ambunya, Kayange, Otieno
Conversions: Simiyu 2, Asego 2
Tries: Norton, Lewis-Pratt
Pool D Standings