Simbas to face Zambia next after Senegal loss

Monday, July 5th, 2021 00:00 |
Senegal’s Georges Pompidou (with ball) celebrates with teammates after scoring a try against Kenya Simbas on Nyayo Stadium on Saturday. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE

It was a bad day in the office for Kenya Simbas as they lost 19-20 to Senegal at home in the 2021 Africa Rugby Cup.

Defending champions Namibia were also shocked 24-13 in Abidjan in the match that also served as France 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifier. 

Both Kenya and Namibia are expected to drop in the latest world rankings to be released today 

“We have made the campaign very hard for ourselves,” said Simbas’ head coach Paul Odera after an unforeseen 20-19 home loss to Senegal in a match that opened the France 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers at the Nyayo stadium.

Not all is lost though as two teams qualify from each of the four pools leaving the ball in Simbas court as the next encounter at the same venue on July 13 will determine the fate of the team.

“If we had just used our chances well, the scores would be different but we allowed Senegal to play to their strengths while we were not able to exploit our chances to the full.

As disappointing as it is, we have to pick up from there because we are hanging by a thread,” said Odera.

Three penalties

“We cannot afford to lose our next game or else we throw away the dream to feature in France but also even if we win it, it’s still going to be very difficult.

We have taken our destiny from our own hands so next we play Zambia like it’s the final,” he added.

On debut, fullback Jone Kubu scored 14 points for Kenya off three penalties - a drop goal and a conversion - whereas winger Darwin Mukidza scored the sole try Kenya bagged in the first half in a game.

The Simbas game was largely slowed down by the visitors and were left playing to their opponents expectation.

The visitors played 10 minutes with a man out in the sin bin with Simbas’ Davis Chenge also getting sin-binned.

Group leaders

The win by Senegal places them first in Pool B whereas Kenya and Zambia are second and third respectively.

Senegalese head coach Sekou Sacko wants to pick another win this Wednesday at the same venue, a crucial match that if they win will see them return home as the group leaders and will face a favorable opponent-cum-the runners up in Pool C while Kenya must finish second to meet the top side from Pool C that has Uganda, Algeria and Ghana in the quarters for a chance to meet Senegal again at the semis stage.

“This is my first game as the head coach and beating Kenya in Nairobi gives me joy.

We just need to win our next match on Wednesday and continue with our 2023 France Rugby World Cup journey,” Sacko told People Sport.

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