Hartfield Rugby Grounds: Simba back for Victoria Cup action

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 00:00 |
Kenya Simbas celebrate a past try by Samson Onsomu during a past match. Kenya won the AFrican cup penultimate fixture 67-0. Photo/ALEX NJUE

Victoria Cup will continue at Hartfield Rugby Grounds in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe witness an epic tie breaker featuring defending champions and hosts Zimbabwe Sables clash Kenya Simbas at 4pm local time, winner set to take standings command. 

Zimbabwe is yet to taste defeat if not settle for a stalemate this weekend with both teams having two wins, both registered over Uganda and Zambia. 

Simbas head coach anticipates a physical encounter by the hosting Sables but holds faith in his charges to strike win on away but familiar grounds. 

“Zimbabwe clash will be real test for us in the competition but we should come out as the victors if we focus and work according to plan,” said Simbas coach Paul Odera after nailing Zambia 43-23 in Kitwe, Zambia last weekend. 

Simbas return to Bulawayo still has them as the favourites despite Zimbabwe going for title defence at home. 

Simbas and Sables have met twenty times, Sables with the majority of 12 wins but Simbas hold a three-match in-a-row winning streak, including a 41-21 win at the same venue in 2017. 

Last season the Sables almost changed script but two late tries by Simbas back rower Dalmus Chituyi at the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi saw Kenya emerge 45-36 winners of the 2018 Africa gold cup fixture. 

Simbas won the recent meeting by six tries; four conversions and a penalty try while the Sables managed five tries and three conversions. 

The last time Zimbabwe beat Kenya was in 2015, a 28-20 loss that the Simbas avenged with a 61-15 win at the Police Grounds in Zimbabwe before switching venue to Hartsfield after 13 years where Kenya Simbas nonetheless still emerged 41-22 winners. 

Zimbabwe squad that beat Uganda 26-31 in Kampala last weekend has been boosted by three changes while Kenya will be without sidelined fullback Isaac Njoroge who featured in the 43-23 win over Zambia. 

Kenya has so far played three matches, winning recent two and lost opener to Uganda while Zimbabwe has won two in a row. 

Simbas must inflict defeat on the defending champions today to gain command of the four-team competition. 

Simbas squad to play Zimbabwe has fewer experienced players retained from the past two seasons while the Sables has retained some of their key players. 

Among Simba players with experience playing against Zimbabwe include Curtis Lilako, Peter Kilonzo, Jacob OjSimbas last season man of the match between Simbas and Sables; Samson Onsomu. 

From Bulawayo, Simbas will take three weeks break and resurface at RFUEA Grounds on August 24 against Zambia and host the defending champs Zimbabwe on September 21 where the champs will be crowned. 

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