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Kenya make it a memorable return for Singapore Sevens

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Kenya lit up Singapore's return to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with an epic first ever Cup triumph as they easily dismissed holders Fiji 30-7 in a massive shock at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Talisman Collins Injera moved within five of the all-time try scoring record of 230 with a brace against the Fijians to earn the player of the final award. 

Singapore rugby sevens

Kenya celebrate winning the Cup Final. Photo: Sport Singapore

"It means a lot, to get one over on Fiji, especially with that amount of points, it means a lot," Injera said.

Kenya had only ever made two Cup finals before in 114 previous tournaments and they had scraped through to the knockout stages after a mixed first day on Saturday where they beat Russia, drew with Scotland and lost to South Africa.

But the East Africans found their feet on day two, beating France 28-7 in the quarter-finals and Argentina 15-12 in the semis after a 40 metre penalty on the buzzer from Injera before taking out the Fijians.

Despite the loss, Fiji extended their lead in the standings to eight points over South Africa, who finished third in Singapore, with only two legs remaining in France and England.

New Zealand dropped to third in the table after their disappointing showing at the National Stadium was completed when they threw away a 21-14 lead in the second tier Plate final to lose 26-21 to Samoa. 

Singapore rugby sevens

New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams takes a wefie with some fans after the Plate Final. Photo: Sport Singapore

Scotland beat United states to win the Bowl, while Russia took the Shield against Wales.

The exciting weekend of thrills, spills and after party DJ sets by Briton Pete Tong were well received by more than 50,000 spectators who attended over the two days as Singapore returned to the prestigious circuit after a 10-year absence.

"The record turnout by the fans also confirms that we need to do a much better job next year, so that they will keep coming back," Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) president Low Teo Ping said.

"It also helps that an underdog team like Kenya won, because this upset is going to be well-remembered. It’s good for rugby here in Singapore, and I’m really pleased overall."

There was some Singapore disappointment, though, as both men's and women's national teams were beaten by Thailand in the finals of the inaugural Southeast Asia Sevens on Saturday. 

Singapore rugby sevens

Singapore and Thailand in action during the SEA Cup. Photo: Sport Singapore

"Playing at home there's added's just a bit of extra weight on your shoulders, and for a young team it's always a bit challenging," Singapore men's captain Daniel Marc Chow said after their 19-5 loss. The women were beaten 42-0. 

This year's edition of the rugby sevens drew some 23,000 people on each day of the weekend. Managing such large crowds is a challenging task and it could not have been done without some extra help.

volunteers at rugby sevens

Volunteers for HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series posing for a picture. Photo: Sport Singapore

Thankfully, local sports volunteer group Team Nila was on hand to help out in various aspects of the event. From crowd management and media relations to accommodation and transport, these selfless volunteers were truly indispensable in the smooth running of the weekend's games.


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