By BS Mulavi

The Kenya 15s national team got off to a flying start with a 22-7 win over Senegal in their first game of the Northern region Confederation of African Rugby tournament in Morocco.

Nondies eighth man Gray Cullen marked his debut with two tries to steer the national team to the finals of the tournament.

Cullen, who starred in the Shujaa outfit on his first year of the Safari sevens, lived up to his billing with a solid performance.

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Cullen scored the first try of the game, which was complemented with a penalty by Vincent Mose as Kenya raced to an early 8-0 half time lead.

Cullen got his second try in the second half with captain Innocent Simiyu also getting his name on the scoreboard with a try, while Vincent Mose converted the tries. Senegal boasts professional players in their team, but they could only conjure a solitary try in the second half for the game to end at 22-7.

Kenya was cited for indiscipline by the match official with KCB back row Andrew Amonde getting sent off for gross misconduct.

Criticised officiating

However, team manager Wangila Simiyu threw his weight behind his club mate Amonde and instead criticised the level of officiating at the tournament.

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Kenya suffered massive casualties from the game. Not only was Amonde sent off, but also his KCB team mates Edwin Alubaka and Anthony Ogot suffered injuries in the game. Amonde will miss the next game, but Wangila has delayed ruling out Ogot and Alubaka from Saturday’s game.

Morocco overcame Cameroon 12-0 in the other tie to book a date with Kenya on Saturday for the final. Morocco had the last laugh over Kenya the last time they met and this time round, they hope to capitalise on home advantage.

Coach Michael tank Otieno had hinted that Morocco would be their toughest competition in the tournament before they left.

"Morocco have already beaten us and I know they will be difficult to beat on their home soil but I have confidence in our boys," said Otieno in their final press conference.

Kenya have all to gain and nothing to lose in the tie, as they cannot drop in the IRB ranking if they lose the match but they will definitely climb several steps if they manage to beat the North Africans.

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Senegal Confederation of African Rugby Morocco Nondies