Kevin Wekesa bagged a hattrick as Kenya 7s started their 2024 survival playoffs matches with a 24-19 win over Canada in thriller played at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.
In a crucial match to secure a spot in Sunday’s playoff decider, both Kenya and Canada entered the game with a determination to start strong. However, it was Canada who struck first after three minutes of play, with Thomas Isherwood offloading to Alex Russell for an opening try, which was successfully converted, giving them a 7-0 lead.
Undeterred, Kenya Sevens fought back as Kevin Wekesa evaded his marker on the right wing and scored a try, converted by Tony Omondi, leveling the scores at 7-7. Canada quickly regained the lead with Russell grabbing his second try of the day. But Kenya swiftly responded as Wekesa capitalized on a switch in play, crossing the try line for a converted try, giving Kenya the lead at halftime.
The second half brought more intensity, and Canada’s Max Stewart exploited a gap on the left side off a ruck, scoring a try that changed the score to 19-14. Kenya, however, showed resilience and equalized at 19-19 when Wekesa received an offload from Edmund Anya and scored his third try of the match. Unfortunately, Kenya’s conversion attempt fell short, leaving the game in a tense deadlock.
In the dying seconds of the game, Kenya regained possession, and it was Edmund Anya who sealed the victory with a try, securing a hard-fought win for the team.
With their playoff final hopes still alive, Shujaa now face Tonga in their next match at 4:59. A win in this game would significantly boost their chances of reaching the playoff decider.
On Sunday, Kenya will go head-to-head against Uruguay, with the top two teams from the pool competing in the final match to determine who will earn the coveted core status.