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.