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KENYA SIMBA MAUL TUNISIA: National Rugby 15s team come good against North Africans in pursuit of continental Division 1A honours

RUGBY By Rodgers Eshitemi | June 29th 2015
Confederation of Africa Rugby Division 1
Kenya Simba Samuel Oliech and Darwin Mukidza grounded Houssem Khalfi of Tunisia during Confederation of Africa Rugby Division 1 match at KRFU ground, Nairobi on Sunday. Kenya won 46-15.PHOTO.BONIFACE OKENDO

KCB utility back Darwin Mukidza produced a man of the match performance, scoring a brace of tries as Kenya Simba revived their Afrique Division 1A championship title hopes after beating 14-man Tunisia 46-15 in their second continental match, at the RFUEA Grounds yesterday.

“I am grateful for the results. We were sure going to win, but after a slow first half we decided to go back to the basics and correct the mistakes. We were both at same level when we started the match but as it progressed, we stamped authority,” said Mukidza.

“We still have the capability of beating Namibia in our final match of the season. But first we have Spain coming up. They are worthy opponents. What we just need is to up our training.”
“In the first half, we tried to play their game after they slowed it down but we changed the tempo in the second half and that’s how we won. I am happy we have also improved in the rankings,” added captain Brian Nyikuli.

Tunisia finished the game a man less after Haythem Cheli was given marching orders for unsporting behaviour. The North Africans took an early 6-0 lead, but Simba responded quickly through Darwin Mukidza’s successfully converted try.

Khalid Chams converted a penalty for Tunisia but Sammy Oliech touched down with Mukidza converting it to put Kenya 14-9. However, the visitors narrowed the halftime lead to 14-12 through Chams’ penalty try.

On resumption, Mukidza, Oliech, Robert Aringo and Vincent Mose scored a try each with Mukidza successfully converting all of them.

“I congratulate Kenya for the good game. We knew they would play wide, but to some extent Ramadhan also affected us. We have a young squad and we hope to build on from this result,” said Tunisia captain Khalid Zagden after the match.

Both teams came into this match seeking to bounce back from their disappointing opening fixtures defeat. Kenya lost 28-20 away to Zimbabwe while Tunisia fell 14-22 at home to World Cup-bound Namibia.

Kenya will play Spain in an international friendly match on July 18 before wrapping up their season with an away match to Namibia.

Meanwhile, Kenya Cup finalists Kabras will battle with Nakuru, Brighton Select and Pirates in the Group A of the fourth edition of the Masaku International Rugby tournament slated for this weekend.

In the draws conducted on Saturday in Machakos, last year’s runners up Uganda U19 have been drawn in Group C alongside French Frogies, Nondescript and Young Turks.
Kenya Harlequin headline Pool B which has Kenya Cup’s trio of Mwamba, Homeboyz and Western Bulls while Samurai Wakulima will compete with Mean Machine, Kilunda and Impala in Group D.

Defending Champions Tabadamu from Fiji have withdrawn from the tournament due to unavoidable circumstances.
The six day tournament will start on Tuesday with School competition before paving way for the 24 Division One clubs on Friday with the main action beginning on Saturday.

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