Hungry Kenya Simbas and Lionesses maul Ugandans: Coach Snook makes dream start to his Kenya’s coaching career with win over Rugby Cranes

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Tuesday, May 29th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby
Kenya 15s Darwin Mukidza sprints to make a goal against Hongkong team at RFUEA grounds during international trialson Saturday, August 27, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Elgon Cup champions win in Kampala as their women compatriots defeat Uganda Cranes in South Africa.

Ian Snook started his career as Kenya Simbas coach with a convincing 34-16 victory over perennial rivals Uganda in Saturday’s first leg of the Elgon Cup at the Legends Club in Kampala.

The New Zealander took over from Jerome Paarwater in April 2018 barely five months after the South African was fired by the Kenya Rugby Union.

While Snook guided the Simbas to a morale-boosting victory ahead of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup, which doubles up as a qualification for the 2019/World Cup in Japan, the Kenya Lionesses’ also made the country proud by lifting their maiden African Women’s Sevens title in Botswana.

The Lionesses lived up to their favourites tag and finally won their first continental title after beating Uganda Cranes 29-7 in Sunday’s final in Gaborone.

It was a great moment for Kevin Wambua’s charges, who had for a very long time, played second fiddle to former champions South Africa.

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South Africa missed the tournament to concentrate on their preparation for the upcoming Sevens World Cup in USA.

Janet Okello and Sinaida Aura grounded a brace of tries each with Linet Moraa scoring the other try as they ended the two-day tournament on an unbeaten run.

On their way to victory, the Lionesses mauled Zambia 43-7 in the quarterfinals before thrashing Madagascar 27-0 in the semifinals.

But despite making a positive start to their season, match-day Simbas’ captain Davis Chenge challenged his teammates to work on their line-outs and avoid conceding easy penalties.

Kenya begin their journey to Japan on June 23 with an away clash against Morocco in Casablanca.

“We are happy with the result; happy that we played for the win. We still made too many mistakes which could have been costly,” said Chenge, who captained the team in the absence of regular skipper, Wilson K’opondo.

“We lost too many line outs and conceded a number of penalties. We know we need to correct all that if we want to have a better season.”

Jacob Ojee gave the Simbas the lead with a converted try before an Ivan Magomu penalty, off a Kenyan infringement, gifted the Rugby Cranes the first three points.

However, instrumental Darwin Mukidza’s extended the Elgon Cup champions’ lead through a penalty before converting tries from Leo Seje and Oliver Mang’eni, for a 24-3 score.

Kenya were then reduced to 14-men after test debutant Patrick Ouko was sin-binned for foul play allowing the Ugandans to slot in two penalties at the stroke of halftime.

Asuman Mugerwa scored Uganda’s lone converted try of the game, but Elkeans Musonye and Biko Adema had a try each as Kenya bagged an advantage ahead of the return leg on July 7.