NAIROBI, Kenya, March 22- Kenya will face Fiji in the Main Cup quarter finals of Tokyo 7s after a narrow 12-7 win over hosts Japan secured their passage in a tense last Pool D encounter at Prince Chichibu Stadium on Saturday.
Having failed to reach the last eight in Las Vegas and Wellington legs of the HSBC World Series, coach Paul Treu, had to wait for their last preliminary tie to make their fourth Cup quarters this season after once again coming unstuck against South Africa in the opening tie.
The home team managed to hold the experienced Kenyan side with winger Dennis Ombachi, utilizing defensive mistakes to punish the hosts as he stretched to find a gap and touched down to break the deadlock as Biko Adema, missed the conversion.
Kenyan all-time- try scorer Collins Injera, silenced the crowd when he ran through to the touch line to score a try that saw Kenya lead 12-0 to the breather.
Japan resumed the last half aiming to finish the night on a high and the country’s XV star Yoshikazu Fujita gave them hope by darting left and right and finding the line to reduce the deficit Katsuyuki Sakai converted but it was too late for them as they were only left to fight for the Bowl as the match ended 12-7 in favour of Kenya.
In the first match, Treu started on the wrong footing once again failing to break through Blitzbokke’s defence as they went down 26-12.
As expected the clash was always a spectacle, given the Springboks’ current form and Kenya’s passionate support but the Tokyo 7s defending champions gained the continental bragging rights after showing dust the former for a third time brushing them off 26-7.
Kenya broke the deadlock with Billy Odhiambo touching down in the third minute as Biko Adema’s kick went through the post.
Treu charges could not manage to hold on their defence with South African Justin Geduld breaking through to score his first try in the tournament but missed the conversion for Kenya to lead 7-5 in half-time.
On resumption, captain Andrew Amonde proved his return to the sixth round, with his great power to drive over from close range and touch down but Adema squandered the conversion as they extended 12-5 lead.
The defending champions came back strongly with Frankie Horne, having a brilliant run to pass the ball to Branco du Preez who broke through Treu’s back row to slide under the post as they converted to restore parity.
More gaps opened up as Werner Kok made a turnover move with ease to pass Preez who sealed the win with a brace of side-stepping tries for Kenya to fall down 26-12.
In their second Group B match, Treu needed to collect the maximum points to have hopes of making it to the Cup quarters and they made it after thrashing Argentina 24-7.
Kenya enjoyed possession for the entire game with winger Dennis Ombachi, opening the first try as Adema made no mistake to convert for a 7-0 lead.
The Pumas defence continued to shake with the back row missing tackles that gave Oscar Ouma, chance to double but Adema’s kick went at the side of the post as they enjoyed a 12-0 lead to the breather.
Despite the score, both teams entered the last half pretty level as the pace slowed. Argentina showed their intent to reduce the deficit by stretching the Kenyan lines with Martin Rodriguez breaking through to touch down and convert but indiscipline saw them reduced to six men.
Kenya made them pay for their uncharacteristic missed tackles, with Oscar Ayodi and Horace Otieno, completing the route as vice captain Collins Injera converted but Michael Agevi missed his as Treu bagged three crucial points.
In the other Sunday’s Main Cup quarter finals, South Africa will play USA while series leaders New Zealand will face Australia as Canada squares it out with England.