Wekesa stars as Kenya Sevens edge Canada in relegation playoffs

Shujaa's Kevin Wekesa in action during a past match.[Wolrd Rugby]

Kevin Wekesa scored a hat trick as Kenya Sevens came from behind thrice to defeat Canada 24-19 in the relegation playoffs at the London Sevens on Saturday afternoon.

Shujaa will this weekend battle against Canada, Tonga and Uruguay for the sole ticket to play in the 2023-2024 World Rugby Sevens Series after a dismal performance this season saw them play in the relegation playoffs.

In the crucial match, it was Canada who struck first when Alex Russell touched down and    Thomas Isherwood converting for a 7-0 lead.

Wekesa responded by restoring parity for Kenya at 7-7 after Anthony Omondi’s conversion.

Russel grabbed his brace immediately to restore Canada’s lead to 12-7 with missed conversion but it would be Kenya ahead 14-12 at the break after Wekesa completed his double and Omondi adding the extras.

In the final half, Canada struck again through Max Stewart as Isherwood’s twos saw the North Americans retake the lead 19-14.

Wekesa would again pick up from where he left in the first half as he tied the scores 19-19 with a corner post try after an offload from Edmund Anya. Shujaa could not make the conversion as the game went to a deadlock with a minute left on the clock.

Despite kicking the ball to Canada, Shujaa regained possession after a well-calculated interception in the midfield saw Anya beat the Canadian defense to score at the death and give Kenya an important win.

In the second match, Uruguay also scored at the death as they rallied from behind to beat Tonga 15-12.

Kenya lead the relegation playoffs pool with three points same as Uruguay who have an inferior point difference of three points. Kenya has a point difference of five points.

Kenya must now beat Tonga at 4.59pm today to stand a chance of qualifying for the winner takes it all playoff-final tomorrow.

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