Rugby: Kenya renew rivalry with Uganda in France

Simbas' Thomas Okeyo (left) and EP Elephants's Subusiso Lali during the final Currie cup fixture at RFUEA Grounds. June 11, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya Simbas will on Saturday renew their rivalry with neighbors Uganda Cranes at Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence, France as the 2023 World Cup qualifiers enter the final stretch.

The Simbas and Cranes met last at Elgon Cup in 2019 where the Cranes won the first leg in Kisumu 16-13 before Kenya turned the tables in Kampala, winning 16-5 for an aggregate of 29-21 to retain the Elgon Cup.

The Simbas have dominated to win eight out of their 10 outings against the Cranes. In total, the Simbas have won 25 Elgon Cup outings while the Cranes have 12.

The winner of the match will book a semi-final clash with either Senegal or Algeria, who will play later in the day at the same venue.

At the other side of the draw Namibia faced Burkina Faso yesterday at Stade Delort, Marseille with the winner securing a date with either Zimbabwe or Cote d’Ivoire, who will meet on the same day.

Boosted by the inclusion of veteran star Collins Injera, Simbas will be keen to qualify for the World Cup especially after a learning curve from the Currie Cup test matches in South Africa.

But apart from Injera,there are also other experienced players in the side and who understand about Kenya and Uganda rivalry.

Odera’s squad is a blend of youth and experience with three players, who featured in the 2014 World Cup qualifier squad, Martin Owillah, Davis Chenge and Collins Injera in the squad.

But Fijian born Jone Kubu should introduce some different skills to the Simbas hunt.

Some of the new players in the squad were in the 2019 World Rugby Junior Trophy side - scrum-half Samuel Asati, centre Dominic Coulson, winger Andrew Motoka and loosehead Andrew Simiyu.

The semi-finals are due July 6 at Stade Delort and Stade Maurice David respectively with the final set for July 10 at Stade Maurice David.

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