Welsh rugby coach Leigh Jones’ Hong Kong team beat Kenya 43-34 in the second of a two-test series at the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi yesterday.
The result capped a determined performance for the visitors, who had also led in last week’s opening test, before letting Kenya come back to clinch a 19-all draw.
Ahead of the second test, Hong Kong’s Welsh coach had warned that his side would be better for having a first game of the season under their belts and acclimating to local conditions – and they were.
Kyle Sullivan claimed the first of four quick tries for Hong Kong late in the opening half after a jinking run and clever offload from scrumhalf Liam Slatem put the onrushing lock into space.
An early kicking duel between fly half Matt Rosslee and Kenyan winger Darwin Mukidza had brought the scoring to 9-6 in Hong Kong’s favour after the opening quarter.
Rosslee scored 23 points from five penalties and four conversions. His conversion of Sullivan’s try brought the half-time score to 16-6 and Hong Kong kept on the pressure with a strong start to the second half.
A fourth penalty in the 45th minute for Rosslee pushed Hong Kong ahead 19-6.
The forwards put in a powerful display in the second half, stealing several Kenyan scrums against the head.
Reserve hooker Dayne Jans scored his first try for Hong Kong, pushing the visitors to 26-6 after Rosslee’s conversion.
Hong Kong’s forwards followed up with another attack, allowing Hong Kong’s most post-1997 to score a try, pushing the lead to 33-6 after the conversion.
A storming comeback in which they scored two tries in three minutes showed why Kenya are one of the most dangerous opponents in all of world rugby.
Kenya got back in the game with a series of tries to close the deficit to 13 with 20 minutes on the clock.
However, Rosslee halted the momentum, scoring his fifth penalty from near halfway, increasing Hong Kong’s margin to 36-20.
The Kenyan team threw everything into their attack in a frenetic last quarter and scored a third try to keep in touching distance at 36-27 down after the conversion.
Rosslee’s conversion following flanker Matt Lamming’s try pushed Hong Kong’s lead to 43-27. Kenya added a tap and go try off of a penalty near Hong Kong’s posts, but Hong Kong held off the Kenyans to secure the 43-34 win.