NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6- Kenya’s hope of a maiden Hong Kong World Sevens Series Qualifier final berth were dashed courtesy of a Television Match Official (TMO) decision that awarded South Africa a match winning try in sudden death, Lionesses losing 12-7 in the semis on Friday.
The Lionesses put up a gallant fight to come from behind and dot down a converted try to force the game into extra time which South Africa duly won with Zinhle Ndawonde’s try in stoppage time tapping the white line a millimeter, the TMO awarding the try.
Despite failing to reach the final, Kevin Wambua’s girls who will be switching gears to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia will be leaving Hong Kong proud of their performance, having surpassed last year’s quarter final achievment.
The first half was a scrappy affair, ending barren with both teams losing balls, and failing to keep possession. South Africa lost the ball nine times while Kenya lost eight.
At half time, head coach Kevin Wambua was unimpressed as Kenya was forced to play most of the seven minutes in their own 22 and he urged his girls to take possession off their half by opting for the line-out.
But After the break, it was South Africa who came back better. Elis Malli thought she had given the South Africans the lead with a small kick and chase, but the try was not awarded after a TMO decision which ruled a knock on.
However, they got into the lead minutes later when Zenay Jordaan dotted down despite Sinaida Aura’s late effort at pulling her down before she crossed over.
But the Lionesses responded with Janet Okello dotting down a superb try, putting up pace after Kenya won possession deep in their own half to blaze almost half the length of the pitch and dot down. Doreen Remour added in the extras as the scores tied at 7-7.
At the hooter, Kenya had a chance to kill off the game when they earned a scrum, but possession was turned over by the South Africans who sought to take advantage and score at the death. However, Zintle Mpupha knocked on.
At sudden death, Kenya’s bid was hugely punctured when Rachel Mbogo was sent to the sin bin for overreaching a South African pass.
They took the numerical advantage and they thought to have scored the winner on the far left-hand side of the field however a forward pass in the build-up scratched it off the board.
They nonetheless pushed for the winner and they did so, Ndawonde’s match-winning try confirmed by the TMO.
The Lionesses got into the semis after another extra time match this, time finishing off 17-12 winners over Argentina after a 12-12 tie in regulation time.