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Legendary Kenya star Collins Injera has announced his retirement from rugby following an illustrious career in which he represented his country at both sevens and 15s.
Injera made his test debut against Uganda in August 2006 and was most recently involved in the Simbas’ Rugby Africa Cup 2022 campaign in France last July.
However, it is in the shorter format of the game that he will be most fondly remembered.
Injera, 36, made his HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut in Hong Kong in March 2007 and went on to make 424 appearances across 15 years. In total he scored 279 tries – second only to England and Great Britain great Dan Norton – and 1,443 points on the circuit.
Everything must come to an end, sometime. I have always said that I will know it’s time, because my body will tell me. And for the past few months it has really ‘spoken’ to me so, finally, I have decided to listen to it. I hope I made you all proud.#279Out#C11 pic.twitter.com/MrOhdxswMy— Collins Injera, OGW, OLY (@cinjera) January 24, 2023
Across his decade and a half in the Series, he played in 83 tournaments, the most by a Kenyan player and seventh highest overall. After scoring his 200th Series try, at Twickenham in 2015, Injera produced a marker pen from his sock and signed the match ball and television camera.
He also appeared at two Olympic Games and four Rugby World Cup Sevens. Arguably his greatest moment in a Kenya sevens jersey came at RWC Sevens 2009 in Dubai, where he crossed the whitewash five times to help the Shujaa Sevens into the semi-finals.
Following that tournament, Injera was nominated alongside his brother Humphrey ‘Tall’ Kayange for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2009.
Injera, playing with Kayange, also scored two tries in the Cup final as Kenya beat Fiji 30-7 to win their only title to date on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore in 2016.
It was perhaps fitting that his final appearance for Kenya came at RWC Sevens 2022, in Cape Town last September, helping the Shujaa to 12th place.
“Everything must come to an end, sometime. I have always said that I will know it’s time, because my body will tell me,” Injera wrote in a statement released on social media.
“And for the past few months it has really ‘spoken’ to me so, finally, I have decided to listen to it. As hard as this is for me, after 17 years of literal blood, sweat and tears, it’s time to step away from this great game that has given me so much more than I could ever ask for.
“Thank you, Lord, for giving me the strength, opportunities, and protection to be able to play the game I really love for this long.
“To my wife Chebet and my kids; Chloe, Clyde, and Carl, thank you very much for all the love, support and understanding you have given me all these years. Those days, weeks, and sometimes months that you have endured without my presence as I was busy chasing my dream across the globe are finally over.
“It’s now time for me to spend much needed quality time with you. Thank you, mum, dad and Linda, for all the prayers, advice and support. My brothers, Tall [Humphrey] and Mike, we did it! We managed to play together both locally and internationally.
“To all my team-mates, coaches, management and opponents, thank you all for the memories we have created both on and off the field. We have shared some very high and low moments together. Thank you for being part of my journey and helping me achieve my dreams.”
Injera, who played international rugby with his younger brother Michael Agevi as well as their older sibling Kayange, said he would continue with his humanitarian work as he heads into retirement.
“To the fans, media and sponsors, thank you all for the support throughout my career,” he concluded. “I hope I made you all proud.”