Kenya sends Eagles to Cape Town Plate Semifinals

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Kenya kept the Men's Eagles Sevens to two second-half tries in a 26-10 win Sunday in the HSBC Cape Town Sevens Cup Quarterfinals.

Kevin Swiryn assisted both of Perry Baker's tries in the U.S.'s loss, the second of the weekend at Cape Town Stadium. The Eagles will look to beat New Zealand for the third time in two tournaments in the Plate Semifinal at 9:12 a.m. ET.

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The Eagles did themselves in on the restarts throughout the match, though they kept possession of the opening kickoff for a few passes. A pass eluded Carlin Isles not far from his own uprights and Kenya turned over possession, but the Eagles recovered to take Oscar Ayodi into touch before he could dot down over the line. Willy Ambaka stole the Eagles' lineout, however, and needed just a few steps upon his landing on the pitch to open the scoring.

Kenya won the ensuing restart and a penalty in the breakdown following a one-on-one tackle by Madison Hughes. Zack Test conceded another penalty to gift Kenya extra space on the pitch, and Collins Injera supported Bush Mwale to receive an offload in contact for Kenya's second try.

The 12-0 deficit grew before anything could get going for the U.S. Despite Kenya losing the ball forward in the fifth minute, the Eagles lost Garrett Bender to an injury and conceded a penalty five meters from the in-goal area. Brett Thompson hit a pass to the wing out of the air only for it to fall into Ambaka's hands on the try line. Ambaka was able to dot down through Thompson's tackle and Biko Adema kicked the tough conversion to extend Kenya's lead to 19-0.

To add insult to injury, the Eagles gave Kenya a scrum on the restart without time remaining on the clock, but the Kenyans opted to bring forth halftime rather than go for more points. Kenya returned the error in the second half, knocking the ball on the kickoff. Swiryn entered the match and drew two defenders into a tackle past the 22 to free Baker on the wing. Baker could not center the try, however, and Hughes' conversion attempt hit the post for a 19-5 score.

Baker got the ball back for the Eagles less than a minute after his try with a lunging tackle on his opposite number, which set up a breakdown in which Kenya lost the ball forward. In almost a carbon copy of the first try, Swiryn approached contact to set up Baker on the wing to cut the deficit to 19-10.

A third try in quick succession was on the cards for the Eagles in the 11th minute as Hughes passed to Test on the wing, but it was deemed forward by the match official. In the remaining minutes, the U.S tried to do just a little too much to get back on the scoreboard. Baker was taken into touch in an attempt to turn on the jets on the wing in the 12th minute and a 13th-minute pass from Matai Leuta was intercepted by Injera and returned nearly 90 meters for Kenya's nail-in-the-coffin try.

The U.S. defeated New Zealand for the first time in Series history last weekend at Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, and did it again in the tournament's Third-Place Match to earn 17 points towards the standings. Thirteen points are on the line for the team to capture the Plate title. The Plate Semifinal featuring the Eagles and All Blacks Sevens kicks off at 9:12 a.m. ET.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Kenya

1. Carlin Isles

2. Matai Leuta

3. Brett Thompson

4. Garrett Bender

5. Zack Test

6. Kevin Swiryn

7. Folau Niua

8. Maka Unufe

9. Thretton Palamo

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Will Holder

Kenya | v. USA

1. Oscar Ayodi

2. Bush Mwale

3. Frank Wanyama

4. Eden Agero

5. Billy Odhiambo

6. Robert Aringo

7. Biko Adema

8. Oscar Ouma

9. Leanoard Mugaisi

10. Nelson Oyoo

11. Collins Injera

12. Willy Ambaka

Men's Eagles Sevens | 10

Tries: Baker (2)

Conversions: N/A

Kenya | 26

Tries: Ambaka (2), Injera (2)

Conversions: Adema (3)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Cape Town Sevens

v. Wales - W 26-19

v. Portugal - W 52-7

v. Australia - L 26-21

Cup QF v. Kenya - L 26-10

Plate SF v. New Zealand - Sunday, Dec. 13 - 9:12 a.m. ET