Rugby: Kenya shift focus to repêchage tourney after Namibia defeat

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Monday, August 20th 2018 at 00:21 GMT +3 | Rugby
RUGBY AFRICA GOLD CUP Kenya Simba's Captain Davis Chenge (with ball) is tackled by Fortunate Chipendo of Zimbabwe Saples during Africa Gold Cup cum 2019 world cup qualifier at RFUEA Stadium Grounds on Saturday, Kenya won 45-36 against Zimbabwe. June 30, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Chenge still confident of qualifying for World Cup in November.

National 15s rugby team, Kenya Simbas have quickly shifted their focus to the upcoming four nation repêchage tournament in France after failing to secure a direct 2019 World Cup qualification ticket to Japan away in Windhoek, on Saturday.

The Simbas went to Namibia trailing the South African side by three points (17) and needing a win to automatically qualify for the global showpiece.

Ian Snook’s men, however, fell 53-28 to the continental defending champions in the crunch Rugby Africa Gold Cup decider to extend their winless run against the hosts to four years.

But with the East African side still having another opportunity to battle with Germany, Hong Kong and Canada in the round-robin repêchage event between November 11-23 in Marseille, the Simbas captain Chenge is hopeful of making it to Japan.

“It was a tough battle, but I give credit to the boys. They gave their all, but unfortunately Namibia played better than us, capitalised on our mistakes and won the game,” said Chenge after Namibia defeat.

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“Lucky enough, we have another opportunity at the repêchage. We have some time to work on our mistakes and I hope by the time we travel to France we will be much better.”

Having played against Germany and Hong Kong before, the Kenya Commercial Bank man is fully aware of what lies ahead of them in Marseille.

“Another three tough matches against very clinical and good teams are waiting for us in Marseille. We need to prepare well, ensure everything works according to plan and make sure we qualify,” Chenge said.

Head coach Ian Snook equally believes with good preparation, the Simbas can still grab the final 20th World Cup slot in Japan.

“The boys gave hundred per cent, but we need to be playing at least harder games before such matches. Of course we have a second chance. So, what we need to do is prepare very well for the repêchage,” said Snook.

The winner in Marseille will join World champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia in Group B in Asia.

Related Topics: World Cup Japan