Kenya survive in Sevens Rugby World Series

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NAIROBI, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Sevens team survived a nervy end to the World Series season and retained their core status among the world top teams despite poor organization failure to invest in players' welfare.

Former head coach Benjamin Ayimba said Sunday that Kenya was on the cusp of relegation before the return of some senior players salvaged the team in the last round in Paris to qualify for their first quarterfinal in the Main Cup.

"Kenya has always had talent," Ayimba said. "But how you treat these players also matters. They need to run the team as a full professional side and pay the players what parallels to their talent. We have survived and give the sport a new lease of life, Kenyans deserve better than this."

While Kenya is celebrating their miraculous last minute survival, it was the end of the road for Japan on Sunday after they were stripped off their World Sevens Series core status losing 52-7 to England in the quarters of Paris Sevens Challenge Trophy.

Japan, who denied a place in the Cup quarters on Saturday by a late Scotland penalty, needed to contest all eight points on offer in the challenge trophy on Sunday and hope that Wales fell by the way side to survive.

Heading to France, Kenya sat 14th in the standing with 27 points, just two ahead of 15th place Japan who occupied the final relegation spot.

With South Africa finishing fourth and sealing the final automatic slot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games together with USA, Fiji and New Zealand, Kenya will have easy ride in the Africa qualifiers next year.

South Africa will skip the continental qualifiers for the Tokyo Games leaving it out for Kenya to face Uganda, Nigeria, Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco, and Ghana. Only one slot will be up for grabs. Enditem

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