Upper Hill crowned EA Rugby Sevens champions
Stanley Mativo in Arusha, Tanzania
Upper Hill are the new East Africa rugby sevens champions after thrashing Laiser Hill 27-14 in a result that guarantees they will finish top of the round-robin tournament in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Nairobi-based side emerged victorious from a pulsating ‘battle of hills’ against their compatriots and immediate champions Laiser Hill on Wednesday to bag their maiden sevens title.
Laiser Hill could still match their opponents on points if they win their game in hand but it will count for nothing as organisers announced ties will be broken by virtue of head to head record.
After switching to sevens this year, Upper Hill have now dethroned Kevin Atandi-coached Laiser Hill as champions at both national and regional level.
The two met in the national final held in Mombasa in April where Laiser Hill relinquished their title after losing 10-5.
On their way to the East Africa glory, the Thomas Walgwe coached side, defeated Kiira College of Uganda, hosts Okeeswa, St. Peters Mumias, Hana International from Uganda and Laiser Hill losing only to Jinja SS of Uganda.
Dennis Onyona and Calvin Kahindi both scored two tries for Upper Hill against their nemisis Laiser while James Mwangi scored another one for the champions as Dominic Onyango converted a try.
Branson Madigu scored two tries which were converted by Brian Odongo to give Laiser Hill a consolation.
Upper Hill who won the rugby 15s version title last year switched to the sevens after losing to Dagoretti in Nairobi regional games in March and Walgwe is eyeing a instant return to 15s despite this year’s sevens glory.
“We are not underrating sevens but rugby is 15s and we will try to get back next year but first I would like to thank my boys who were very clinical against our rivals Laiser Hill because we knew they were our biggest hurdle,” he charged.
At the same time, spot-on Kakamega inched closer to bagging their fifth regional title in rugby 15s after defeating St. Mary’s Kisubi of Uganda in their fourth match.
Kakamega who have won all their matches will need to defeat Ntare School of Uganda on Thursday to reclaim their title with a game to spare in the tourney which is being played in a round-robin format.