NZ humbled in shock loss to Kenya

By Campbell Burnes

Kurt Baker (L) of New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.
Kurt Baker (L) of New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.

The upsets keep coming on day two of the Las Vegas Sevens.

The All Blacks Sevens crashed to a 22-0 defeat to Kenya in the final game of Pool A. It was a listless, flat performance by New Zealand, as though they had eaten something heavy for breakfast.

Kenya, by contrast, were hot to trot, full of energy and running and bringing a startling physicality to the breakdown.

Early pressure brought a try to Oscar Ayodi and soon afterwards it was Oscar Ouma crossing from a nice switch and gap running.

New Zealand lacked any sort of fluency on attack and coach Gordon Tietjens fired some well-chosen words at his troops, calling for more speed and accuracy. Often that sort of pep talk does the trick, but it appeared to have no effect on the New Zealanders, who were so clinical on day one.

The experienced Collins Injera set up Willy Ambaka for a long-range try and Kenya sealed it with a rare penalty goal to Biko Adema as Gillies Kaka was sinbinned.

Even rarer was the fact that New Zealand were blanked on the score sheet.

This was Kenya's first victory over New Zealand since the 2013 Wellington Cup semifinal, and just their fourth overall against the men in black.

Both sides had already qualified for the Cup quarter-finals. Kenya now top Pool A, and will likely meet hosts USA this afternoon for a place in the semifinals.

New Zealand will now face the Pool D winner, probably South Africa, in the Cup quarter-finals at 3.15pm NZT.

Kenya 22 (Oscar Ayodi, Oscar Ouma, Willy Ambaka tries; Biko Adema 2 con, pen) New Zealand 0 Halftime: 12-0

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