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Heart Break for the Simba XV

18 Jul

In a case of so near yet so far has struck the Kenya national rugby team the world cup qualifiers held in Madagascar over the past week. In a tournament that started off greatly for Kenya who proved they are one of continents heavyweights with a win over Namibia and then followed up with a win over the hosts. Zimbabwe started the tournament with a win over Madagascar but followed up with a narrow 20 24 loss to Namibia. Kenya was in prime position to qualify for the world cup for the first time in their history and could have achieved it with a draw or bonus point loss in their final match against Zimbabwe. Heading into the match Kenya had 10 points, Zimbabwe had 6 and Namibia was on 5. The game started off well for the Kenya team with the scores tied at 3 all for most of the first half then Zimbabwe sneaked ahead with a penalty but Humphrey Kanyange powered through the Zimbabwe defence for a converted for Kenya to lead 10 – 6. The Zimbabwe sables the struck before half time to go into the break 13 10 leading. The second half belonged to Zimbabwe who scored points in the form of 2 tries 2 conversions and a penalty to win the game 28 10. They went above Kenya by having scored more points than them and stood a chance to qualify directly unless Namibia won by more than 53 points in the last match against Madagascar. What happened next quite inexplicable and the Madagascans seemingly were not interested in tackling and allowed Namibia to post 89 points to have them qualify directly for the world cup. Zimbabwe who came second now go into the next qualification round.

Despite vast improvements in the 15s version of the game clearly more work needs to be done especially in the tight 5 where Kenya was “bullied” by the Sables. If Kenya can fix that we can well be on our way to match the lofty heights that have been reached by the 7s squad.


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