Kenya qualify and will play in the World Rugby U20 Trophy in July after beating Namibia 21-18 to win the U20 Barthés Trophy, Rugby Africa’s premier age-grade competition.
The lead changed hands five times in a dramatic encounter where there was never more than five points between the sides.
Two Delron Brandt penalties within the first 10 minutes gave Namibia an early lead but Kenya were the first to cross the whitewash, Brian Amaitsa’s try going unconverted.
Kenya scored again before the half was out, fly-half Michele Brighetti sending the ball wide to Beldad Ogeta who supplied the finish, as they went into the break 10-6 ahead.
At the start of the second half Namibia, who had appeared in the six previous editions of the World Rugby U20 Trophy, edged in front thanks to Shaun Van Wyk’s try.
Kenya then went a man down following a yellow card but they regained their composure to earn a penalty which Andrew Matoka slotted to make the score 13-11 to Kenya entering the final quarter.
Brandt converted his own try in the 67th minute as the momentum of the match changed again but Kenya were not done yet, Bonface Ochieng, the home side’s captain, muscling his way over from a rolling maul.
With the try going unconverted, the scores were tied at 18-18 until, with three minutes remaining, fullback and man of the match Andrew Matoka drilled over a 40-metre penalty to ensure Kenya of their first win over Namibia at this level.
Kenya are the sixth nation to confirm their place in the U20 Trophy for 2019. They join hosts Brazil, Asian qualifiers Hong Kong, Oceania qualifiers Tonga and Japan, the side relegated from the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2018. The remaining two places will be filled by a qualifier from Europe and North America.