Kenya hit Canada, Tonga in World Rugby Sevens Series Play-off

Tony Omondi

Jordan Sepho of France (left) fights for the ball against Tony Omondi of Kenya (right) during their match of the HSBC Rugby Sevens event in Singapore on April 8, 2023.
 

Photo credit: Roslan Rahman | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Coach Damian McGrath’s charges came from behind to take one step closer towards the play-off final of the four-nation tournament with a hat-trick of tries from Kevin Wekesa and one from Edmund Anya.
  • Shujaa fell behind 5-0 from an Alex Russell try from a pass from Thomas Isherwood who successfully added the conversion.

Kenya Shujaa are one match away from the World Rugby Sevens Series 2024 Play-off final after sweeping aside Canada 24-19 and Tonga 38-26 in their pool at the London Sevens at Twickenham, England on Saturday.

Kenya now need to avoid defeat against Uruguay on Sunday to make it to the final.

Inspired by Kevin Wekesa hat-trick of tries in both matches, Coach Damian McGrath’s charges are assured of a best-two finish in their group.

In the opening matches against Canada, Shujaa came from behind to take one step closer towards the play-off final of the four-nation tournament with a hat-trick of tries from Wekesa and one from Edmund Anya.

Shujaa fell behind 5-0 from an Alex Russell try from a pass from Thomas Isherwood who successfully added the conversion.

Kenya responded almost immediately with their own try from Wekesa converted by Anthony Omondi.

But, again Russell sent the Canadians back in front 12-7 with an unconverted try after linking up well with Isherwood.

Wekesa was at it again after bursting through Canada's defence from a good switch of play and pass from Herman Humwa for a Kenyan lead of 14-12 at halftime after Omondi added the extras.

Kenya started the second half on the back foot again as Isherwood converted Max Stewart try for a 19-14 lead, but McGrath’s side was not giving up yet.

Wekesa replied with his third try of the match after a nice offload from Anya for 19-19 before Anya nailed it with a try seconds from the buzzer, although Kenya needed some good defending to deny the Toulouse Sevens Cup semi-finalists.

Shujaa went into this fixture with a good head-to-head record at London Sevens against Canada.

The East Africans hammered Canada 38-12 in 2013 before drawing 17-17 the following year, both at the group phase.

They also defeated the Canadians 12-7 in Bowl quarter-finals at the 2009 London Sevens, but lost 33-7 last weekend at Toulouse Sevens at the group stage.

The win put Kenya on top of their Pool play-off followed by Uruguay who outwitted World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series winners Tonga 15-12 with a last-gasp try from Baltazar Amaya.

McGrath’s charges proved too strong for Tonga by out-muscling them 38-17 with tries from Wekesa (three), Brian Tanga, captain Nelson Oyoo and Anya as Omondi made three successful conversions and Daniel Taabu one conversion to inch closer to the Play-off final.

Kenya and Uruguay will clash in their last Pool play-off match on Sunday at 2.19pm.

The best two from the four-nation competition will advance to a winner-takes-all play-off at 6.56pm on Sunday to decide the identity of the 12th and final team on the new-look men's 2024 World Rugby Sevens Series.

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