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Rugby: Kubu and Tanga impress as Kenya Simbas lose to Currie Cup Champions

RUGBY By Washington Onyango | November 6th 2021
Kenya Simbas captain Dan Sikuta in action against Carling Champions Team during their Carling Champions match played at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in South Africa on Saturday. [Courtesy]

Kenya Simbas kicking off their three-week South Africa tour with a heavy 85-17 defeat to the Carling Champions Team in the inaugural Carling Champions Trophy final match played at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, South Africa on Saturday.

Despite the defeat, Simbas head coach Paul Odera is optimistic his players will pick positives despite the loss.

The local composite side led 45-10 at the halftime break following an entertaining first half in a match that witnessed 13 tries scored by the hosts while Kenya replied with two tries.

Simbas are in South Africa for the International Tour where they are scheduled to play a quadrangular tournament involving Namibia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe Sables.

Being the inaugural opponents in the champions cup match, Simbas faced the best of South African domestic rugby as a warm-up to the tournament.

They took on a Carling Champion Team, consisting of players selected by fans from the seven Carling Currie Cup Premier Division teams.

The hosts led 19-3 at the first water break 20 minutes into the game after midfielder Chris Smit, lock Reniel Hugo and hooker Schalk Erasmus each crossed the whitewash as Kenya’s pivot Jone Kubu replied with a successful penalty goal in an attempt to claw their way back.

Arno Botha, scrumhalf Keagan Johannes, tighthead prop Aranos Coetzee and replacement outside centre Stedman Gans added four more tries to the Carling Champions Team's as Fijian Kubu crossed over for Kenya’s first try which he converted as they trailed 45-10 at the break.

The second half pretty much repeated the trend of the opening stanza, with the local side dominating possession and territory and bossing the scoring opportunities.

Loose forwards Phumzile Maqondwana , Nama Xaba and Marcel Theunissen got over the whitewash, while Johannes and Hugo carded their second tries after the break.

Starting flyhalf Brandon Thomson and his second-half replacement George Whitehead were successful with 10 of their 13 conversions.

Left wing Brian Tanga scored Simbas sole try after the break, with Kubu slotting the conversion in the 85-17 defeat.

Scorers:

Carling Champions Team 85 (45) – Tries: Chris Smit, Reniel Hugo (2), Schalk Erasmus, Arno Botha, Keagan Johannes (2), Aranos Coetzee, Stedman Gans, Phumzile Maqondwana (2), Nama Xaba, Marcel Theunissen. Conversions: Brandon Thomson (5), George Whitehead (5).

Kenya 17 (10) – Tries: Jone Kubu Tavaga, Brian Tanga. Conversions: Tavaga (2). Penalty goal: Tavaga.

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