LAS VEGAS, USA, January 25- Kenya have all to do to sail to the Las Vegas 7s quarters after recovering from an opening loss to Canada to ground Wales ahead of their Sunday crunch tie against South Africa.
Paul Treu’s side, boasting the most potent line-up thus far this season, registered a dispiriting 15-17 loss to Canada who prevailed over them for the first time in the 2013/14 HSBC World Series campaign before edging a nervy affair over Wales 21-17.
Kenya need victory against Treu’s former employers at their 1:20am local time clash to guarantee passage to the Main Cup quarters, having lost to the Blitzbokke twice in a row in George and Dubai.
In their Pool A opener, Canada took the early initiative with Connor Braid touching down on 55 seconds, Philip Mack converting for a 7-0 lead.
They would continue to keep possession and went 12-0 up when John Moonlight score midway through the half, his unconverted try making it 12-0.
Kenya struggled to get a rhythm when in possession but would eventually put points on the board courtesy of Dan Sikuta’s unconverted effort at the stroke of half time. They went into the breather trailing 5-12.
Head Coach Treu would make a triple substitution, throwing on Billy Odhiambo, Humphrey Kayange and Horace Otieno for Dennis Ombachi, Dan Sikuta and Patrice Agunda.
They would however be caught napping when youngster Justin Douglas touched out wide, making it 17-5 to Canada.
Kenya would again find themselves in possession, Kayange spotting the gap and cantering 20 yards to ground the ball,this effort marking his 136th career try on the series.
Adema missed the kick as Kenya now trailed Canada 17-10. Odhiambo would score on the buzzer, Adema missing the equalizing conversion as Canada ran off with the 17-15 result.
Against Wales, the South African head coach made three alterations to his starting line-up introducing Otieno, Kayange and Odhiambo to the starting seven, relegating Oscar Ouma, Sikuta and the returning Ombachi to the bench.
Otieno would get the scoring underway, touching down with Adema converting for a 7-0 lead. Rhy Jones restored parity for the Welsh, converting Luke Morgan’s try with the scores at 7-7 after three minutes of play.
Kenya fell 12-7 behind courtesy of a Samuel Cross try but Adema scored and converted a try to see Kenya hold a 14-12 leading going into half time.
They would be caught cold on the restart, James Davies grounding at the corner, Wales leading 17-14 at this point. Captain Collins Injera, Kenya’s all time top try scorer scoring his 168th try with Adema converting for a 21-17 lead.
Injera would make a try saving tackle at the death that secured the win for Kenya.
As Treu struggles to find the winning combination, his former charges strolled through their opening Pool A encounters, blanking Wales Wales 43-0 in their first match before humbling the Canadians 29-0 in their second, underlining the difficult task that lies ahead for Kenya against the Nelson Mandela Bay 7s champions.
Victory for Kenya coupled with Canada beating Wales would knock Blitzbokke out at the pool stage though.
-Additional material from KRU website