NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 1 – Johnstone Olindi’s decision to kick a last minute penalty instead of trying to play out haunted Kenya as they played to a 19-19 draw against Australia in their opening game of the final stop of the World Sevens Series in Paris on Saturday afternoon.
Shujaa had seen their 19-14 lead tied by the Australians who were awarded a TMO try in the final minute of the game and were fortunate that the extras went wide.
In the re-start, Shujaa won possession and played, seeking to get just that one try to give them maximum points. With the clock already out, Kenya won a penalty just over the halfway line and Olindi elected to try and get in the threes a decision that didn’t produce desired results.
The relegation bound Kenyans would have picked a morale boosting win against the Australians who reached the London Sevens final last weekend, but the point puts them a step up in their quest to qualify for the Cup quarters and more or less assure themselves of surviving relegation.
With a minute left on the clock, Australia themselves turned the game on its head when Mathew Hood was awarded a try after a TMO decision.
With Kenya leading 19-14, Hood pierced through the Kenyan defense and went for the try line with Nelson Oyoo hot on his heels. The Kenyan speedstar managed to drag him back but Hood regained his footing to cross over, though the try needed affirmation from above.
Australia missed the twos to give Kenya some hope with barely seconds on the clock.
Australia broke the deadlock early on through Josh Coward who dotted down after the Australians turned over play and the conversion was good for a 7-0 lead.
Kenya however closed in with Charles Omondi dotting down on the left after skipper Jacob Ojee had drawn two chasers to his side before offloading for Omondi who ran through space to dot down.
Amonde then capitalized on a mistake at the back by Australia to take Kenya into the lead when he picked the ball a few metres from the try line to cross over the chalk and Olindi kicked home the twos for a 12-7 lead.
However, Australia went to the break 14-12 up Lachlan Anderson dotting down after running to a kicked pass from Maurice Longbottom.
After the break though, the never say die Kenyans kept the fight when Bush Mwale raced down under the posts after some good footwork earned him space between three Australian back-men with Olindi kicking through the posts the conversion.