Kenya Maintain Rugby 7s Core Status

BY STEVE AYOO

Kenya 7s secured at least another season in the top table of the World Rugby Sevens after producing an inspiring performance in the final leg of the 2018-19 World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris, France.

Kenya went to Paris knowing that anything less than a maiden Cup quarters appearance this season will leave them at risk of the unthinkable – relegation – especially if Wales and Japan, the other relegation candidates, posted better results

Shujaa however showed they were up for the fight from the get-go and were helped over the line by Wales and Japan’s underwhelming results.

After a 19-19 draw against Australia in their first Pool B match, Kenya lost 29-12 to Olympics-qualified South Africa despite holding a first half lead.

It was however the third match against Wales that was most crucial as victory, coupled by a South Africa win over Australia, would give Kenya a spot in the quarters and guarantee survival.

A tense, nail-biting battle saw Wales go into the interval leading 14-7, meaning Kenya had it all to do after the breather.

The local lads came to the party and scored three tries (two converted) to claim a 26-21 victory. While Shujaa’s job was done, they still needed their African brothers South Africa to do them a favor by beating Australia.

The Blitzboks won 19-17 to not only top the group but also help Kenya join them in the Cup quarters.

With Japan failing to make it among the top two in Group D thanks to a last second heartbreak in a 22-21 loss to Scotland, Kenya’s core status was confirmed.

In the Cup quarters, Kenya lost 26-14 to USA despite a 14-5 half time lead.

They met France in the fifth place semifinal, losing 26-21 in extra time after the two sides tied 21-21 in normal time.

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