Battered but not out: Simbas gear up for Namibia test
Kenya national rugby 15s team, the Simbas, are now headed to Stellenbosch after crucial lessons in an 85-17 loss to Currie Cup select team in Pretoria on Saturday.
Simbas head coach Paul Odera revealed on phone that their first opponent tested their skills to the limit to serve as the right opener for Simbas tour in South Africa where they will play continental-cum-all time Rugby World Cup 15s qualifiers rivals Namibia next on November 14 and play their second side on the 20th.
“It was a tough game and it was very hot. The pace, accuracy, intensity were at another level we have not experienced before. We were punished for almost every error we made. The rugby intelligence was very high. They kept changing points of attack and used the player coming around the back extremely well. The constant pressure inflicted on us on attack and defence tested our skills to the very limit,” Odera told People Sport.
The match played at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium revealed a couple of things but on top of the list was how to man decoy runners in a match Kenya conceded 13 tries due to errors made when the squad sank into the level of pressure lastly experienced in November 2019 when Simbas participated in the final Japan RWC qualifiers.
Odera, however, credited the players for taking their shifts for the entire 80 minutes of playing the most difficult match the Simbas have played in the recent past courtesy after trailing 45-10 at half time before conceding six more tries and five conversions in the returning half.
Possession was largely claimed by the hosts who took a 19-0 lead in the first quarter only for Simbas to cut the deficit through a three pointer by Jone Kubu for Kenya’s first points in South Africa.
Odera’s charges scored their first try after camping in their opponents 22 where the hosts attempted everything possible to deny Simbas a try including a failed intercept and turnovers but quick hands by hooker Eugene Sifuna got the ball to Jone Kubu who dived in for the first try that was converted to head to the break 10-45.
It was until the hosts stepped in their 10th try in the second half that the Simbas replied with another converted try by Brian Tanga for a 66-17 trail that was furthered to 85-17 at full time.
After meeting long-term rivals Namibia, Kenya will wrap up the quadrangular test matches against Cheetahs on the 24th.