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Kenya squeeze through to quarters

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INJERA-IRBNAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Kenya’s chances of reaching a first 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series Main Cup semi-final is a step away after sealing a slot in the last eight with a 33-19 victory over Argentina in Glasgow on Saturday.

Paul Treu’s side only made the quarters by virtual of try difference after earlier going down 24-19 to Wales and 24-17 to Tokyo 7s champions, Fiji, in their opening two Group C encounters in what was a keenly contested pool.

Treu has set a last four target in Glasgow and the season closing London 7s as his target after sailing through to four Main Cup quarter-finals in Gold Coast, Dubai, Port Elizabeth and Japan legs since he took charge last November.

Against Wales, Biko Adema broke the deadlock after two minutes when he dashed through two tackles and touched down before his boot converted for 7-0 lead.

Wales responded swiftly attacking with six-men where Ross Jones scored with space to spare at the corner but missed the conversion as they reduced the deficit to two points.

Fly half Oscar Ayodi changed the angle moments later when he broke through to give Kenya a second try and notch his13th of the season as Adema converted to open a 14 -5 lead.

Poor handling of the ball by Ouma gifted Wales a second as Jason Harries sprinted out wide to touch down and ensured the kick went though on the stroke of half –time to leave the sides 14 – 12 at the break.

On resumption Kenya’s record try scorer Collins Injera, gave Treu’s side the lead with a solo effort when he picked-up the pace to beat three defenders and drive into the corner for his 184th career try.

Luke Morgan compensated for his earlier yellow card with a stellar solo run down the left only to be grounded by two Kenyans but managed to get a final hand over the line to level the scores at 19-19.

It was a thrilling end as Will Price finished off in injury time when he held the ball with both hands and beat Michael Wanjala’s tackle to slide in the corner to beat Kenya for the second time in a row.

In the second match, Kenya was looking for the win over a side that has beaten them twice this season to keep their hopes of a fifth Main Cup but it all went sour, when the Islanders came from two tries down to win 24-17.

Treu charges kicked-off well scoring three tries in the first half with stand-in captain Injera turning to accelerate and sweep across the Scotstoun turf from inside his 22 meter line to touch down his 185th try.

Elder bother Humphrey Kayange sent the Kenyan contingent inside the stadium into raptures when the veteran flopped over from close range to score his 137th career try and extend the scores to 12-0.

Series leading try scorer Samson Viriviri, pulled one back after powering through from the right to notch his 42nd of the season only for Emosi Mulevoro, to miss the conversion.

But once again Kenya impressed as Billy Odhiambo broke through a weak tackle to touch down the third and his 10th career try as Injera’s kick went wide for a 17-5 lead in the breather.

Fiji returned a better side as Viriviri touched the white wash from the right flank and reduce the deficit to seven before Benito Masilevu restored parity for a 17-17 after bursting through the middle and convert to set up a thrilling encounter two minutes to the hooter.

Desperate Kenya defending and hoping for their second-ever win over Fiji since 1999 Waisea Nacuqu shuttered their dreams when he touched the line seconds after the full-time hooter to win 24-17.

The last was the decider with Wales and Argentina sharing a win apiece as Fiji booked her place by winning all their encounters.

And yes they did it with Kayange and Odhiambo giving Treu the perfect start, the latter showing why he could be a future star in 7s with a sizzling run through the middle to notch his third try of the season as Wanjala converted for a 7-0 lead.

Injera then finished a quick-pass after a move down the flanks for the second try that Wanjala kicked through before Cachi Paz pulled one back on the stroke of half-time.

On resumption, Kayange proved the difference with a fine display of running rugby and puts the game to rest after receiving a long ball from his elder brother Injera.

Franco Sabato, struck back for Argentina, but Odhiambo shoots down Argentina for his second of the match to send Kenya to the Cup quarters with a resounding 33-19 win.

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