Rugby Super Series: Lions roar past Rhinos at muddy RFUEA Grounds

Lions' Benjamin Rugar (left) and Paul Mutsami of Rhinos during the Rugby Super Series 2024 match at RFUEA. May 4, 2024. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The Lions kicked off their pursuit for the 2024 Rugby Super Series title with a convincing 29-7 win over Rhinos in a dominant display entertaining rugby played at the muddy RFUEA Grounds on Saturday.

The Oliver Mang’eni coached  side raced to a 22-0 lead before the breather before coming back to kill out the game with a converted try in the second half. 

First-half tries from Givens Onyango, co-captain Obat Kuke, and Felix Ojoo coupled with two conversions and a penalty saw the Lions establish early dominance in a game that looked even on paper. 

In the second half, Emmanuel Opondo snipped at the base to go over for the Lions’ bonus point try. Namusasi added the extras without any real problem. It would have looked done and dusted, but the Rhinos put up a spirited fight.

Sheldon Kahi would however go over in the last 10 minutes of play, Evin Asena adding the extras for the Rhino’s consolation.

Speaking after the game, Rhinos’ assistant coach Callum Oliver rued his teams missed chances attributing the mistakes to the little time the boys have spent training together.

“We had a few training sessions together and that is why we had so many errors. Going forward, we will work on the areas that we feel have failed us and come back strong for the next game,” said Oliver. 

On his side, Oliver Mang’eni was an elated coach, attributing his team’s win to the plan they worked on during the week.

“We had a plan heading into this game. Everyone knew what they had to do, and the boys really executed it to the letter,” said Mang’eni. 

The Rugby Super Series now heads to Nakuru for the second round on May 11.

The Lions will take on the Cheetahs who ran out 18-5 winners over the Buffaloes in the early kick off. Mang’eni believes that there are some changes that are going to take place for his team to beat the Cheetahs in their backyard. 

“We are going to sit down and review the game. A number of players are looking to get a run with the team. We have the U20 boys who have rested enough. There are Simbas players who need to be seen by their technical bench too. We will look at all this and determine who is ready to play against the Cheetahs,” concludes Mang’eni. 

With the result, Lions now sit top of the log having gotten a bonus point. Cheetahs are second with four points while Buffaloes and Rhinos are third and fourth respectively.

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