NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17 – Kenya’s hopes of a maiden appearance at the Rugby 15s World Cup came to a screeching halt on Saturday evening after suffering a 42-17 loss at the hands of Hong Kong in their second Repechage World Cup qualification match in Marseille, France.
The loss, Kenya’s second consecutive after going down 69-17 to Canada last weekend sees them fall off pace with the other three teams in the tournament having won a game each.
The Simbas lost an early 12-0 lead to see Hong Kong come back and put a strong performance especially in the second half to snatch the victory out of Kenya’s reach.
Hong Kong ran in six converted tries against Kenya’s three tries -one of which was converted by Sammy Oliech.
“We were in it for the longest time but a couple of moments towards the end we let it flip. We will do have a moment, we thank the fans and everyone who has been with us in this journey,” skipper Wilson K’Opondo said after the match.
Kenya was off to a good start with Tony Onyango stretching his arms over the try-line after a beautiful offload from Felix Ayange. Sammy Oliech booted home the extras as the Simbas went 7-0 up.
Elkeans Musonye then stretched Kenya’s lead further with a well taken team try, Kenya starting off the attack from the line out, pushing Hong Kong close to their try box before Injera picked the ball off Oliech to feed Musonye for the try.
But, the joy was short lived with Max Denmark crossing over after taking advantage of a knock on from Nelson Oyoo. The conversion went in as Hong Kong went to the break trailing by five points.
Upon resumption, Hong Kong stretched the lead further, Toby Fenn making in an easy try with conversion added for a 14-12 lead. Thomas Lamboley added on his brace as Hong Kong stretched further to lead 21-12.
Tony Onyango however restored some hope with a well worked try, showing courage to sprint upfield through a forest of Hong Kong markers.
-Put to bed
Nonetheless, Hong Kong kept their surge with Lamboley completing his brace and two more tries from Nick Hewson and Lewis Werner finishing off the job.
Kenya will now play for pride when they meet Germany in the final match of the tournament on Friday while Hong Kong will play Canada.