Visualizing Kenya 7s Best Tries

The Kenya 7s rugby team has proved a worthy competitor to major rugby nations in the IRB sevens circuit. The rise of the Kenyan sevens team begins almost 7 years ago when they made upsets to top tier teams in the IRB circuit. In this post, we will rank and visualise top 7 tries that propelled Kenya 7s team into the annals of sevens rugby history.

To get started, we develop a methodology for ranking the best tries. The first factor that has the highest weight is the significance of a try. If a try propels the team to next stage of the competition then it gets a higher ranking. The level of the competition (quarters, semis, or final) also adds more significance to ranking. The second factor is psychological gain – a non-quantitative metric that adds to a team’s morale.

The third metric is the distance covered by a player when making a try – some of the superb tries are a run across the entire field. The fourth metric is the number of tackles evaded when making a try. Our fifth and final metric is the ingenuity of a move – this includes; kick, switch, off-load et cetara.

Rank = Significance + Distance + Tackles + Ingenuity 

Without further ado, let’s rank the tries.

Number 7: Oscar Ayodi (Kenya vs New Zealand Group Match (2016) – Las Vegas 7s)
This match remains in the etched in the minds of Kenya rugby fans. It was not the first time that Kenya had beaten New Zealand, but in this match, Kenya beat New Zealand without conceeding a try. The game ended Kenya 22 – 0 New Zealand. Oscar Ayodi scored the openning try with a superb switch pass from Biko Adema. Although it wan’t the winning try, it served to give morale for the subsequent tries.

Significance: Morale
Distance Covered: 25 meters
Tackles Evaded: 2
Ingenuity: Switch

Game Link:

Number 6: Dennis Ombachi (Kenya vs Zimbabwe Olympic Qualifier (2015))
The hand-off master was it again during the Olympic qualifier tournament in Harare, Zimbabwe. In the final qualifier match, Kenya was trailing Zimbabwe 14 – 17 and on the buzzer Dennis Ombachi sprint the width of the field with two hand-offs and evading two other tackles making a try that sent Kenya to the Rio Olympics. Match ended Kenya 19 – 17 Zimbabwe.

Significance: Olympic qualification
Distance Covered: 95 meters
Tackles Evaded: 4
Ingenuity: Hand-off & Sidestep

Match highlight

Number 5: Collins Injera (Kenya vs South Africa Group stage (2009) – Wellington 7s)
Kenya had played South Africa 18 times and never won a single match. In this match, Collins Injera try secured Kenya’s first win over South Africa in a match that ended 17 – 22. Kenya proceeded to their first ever cup finals where they met South Africa  and lost 29 – 7.

Significance: First win over South Africa
Distance Covered: 10 meters
Tackles Evaded: 1
Ingenuity: Dummy

Match Highlight:

Number 4: Dennis Mwanja (Kenya vs England Cup Quater Finals (2007) – San Diego 7s)
Dennis Mwanja scored a hat trick to sink England 17 – 7 thus sending Kenya to the first ever cup semi-finals in the IRB Sevens circuit. The last try tries by Mwanja saw him evade three tackles and sprint over 50 meters to touchdown the ball.

Significance: First Cup Semi Final
Distance Covered: 60 meters
Tackles Evaded: 3
Ingenuity: Double Sidestep

Match Highlights:

Number 3: Willy Ambaka (Kenya vs South Africa Cup Quater Finals (2013) – Wellington 7s )
This was the first time Kenya beat South Africa at a cup level (quater finals) . Willy Ambaka’s try helped Kenya beat South Africa 20 – 21 to proceeded to the cup semi finals. They managed to beat New Zealand and proceeded to their second main cup final where they narrowly lost to England. 

Significance: First win over South Africa at main cup
Distance Covered: 80 meters
Tackles Evaded: 1
Ingenuity: Hit

Match Compilations:

Number 2: Oscar Ouma (Kenya vs New Zealand Cup Semi Final (2013) – Wellington 7s)
The sensational try scored by Oscar Ouma against New Zeland in sudden death to send Kenya into the main cup final. A lot of the emotional part of the try emanated from the fact that Kenya beat New Zealand in their own country.

Significance: Proceed to main cup finals
Distance Covered: 20 meters
Tackles Evaded: 1
Ingenuity: Hit


Number 1: Nelson Oyoo (Kenya vs Fiji Cup Final (2016) – Singapore 7s)
No one can forget Kenya’s first historic win of the main cup in Singapore against Fiji. Nelson Oyoo made the try that finally sank Fiji and confirmed Kenya as the winners of the cup. His brilliant solo  run across half the field evading two tries crowns our best Kenya 7s tries.

Significance: Win main cup finals
Distance Covered: 80 meters
Tackles Evaded: 2
Ingenuity: Double Sidestep


Try video:


  1. Overall, Kenya 7’s class acts according to you is the team plays a fault balanced game. On occassion the team makes successful breaks from deep which is in my opinion what a team manager would be more interested in improving. But what’s clear here is the team’s success in most instances has come from centre-field brilliance. So does it mean there are major defence flaws because the defence seems to be drifting in all centre breaks and not man marking? Or has the team figured out ingeniously a way of puncturing blanket defences? Is it a defence or attack issue?

    Very interesting read Orwa.



    1. Hi Victor,

      Thank you for the detailed comment. The team’s brilliance indeed does come from centre-field brilliance. Also, it does show there’s a defense flaw with the drift. It is more of a defence rather than an attack issue.




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