NAIROBI, June 18 – Darwin Mukidza grounded a try brace to inspire Kenya 15s Simbas to hunt down visitors Spain 36-27 in a breathtaking international Test match played at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds on Saturday.
The win comes as a major boosts for the Simba who will be seeking to reclaim the Africa Cup title when they travel to World Cup-bound Namibia on August 8 in Windhoek but head coach, Jerome Paarwater said it will be an uphill task.
“We played well in the second half because we knew Spain could have come stronger in the line-outs and scrums and I’m happy we managed to handle the pressure. The two Test matches that we have played is a big bonus as we head to Namibia,” Paarwater said after the win.
The result that comes at the back of a 46-15 mauling over Tunisia in the Arica Cup two months after demolishing Portugal 45-15 in their first Test match, could see them inch closer to position 25 when World Rugby releases the rankings.
The hosts came from three points down against a team that is ranked 10 places above them when Mukidza broke a tackle on the right to power through for the opening unconverted try that cancelled out Spain’s early penalty.
Mukidza, who starred against Portugal and Tunisia, doubled the lead when Sammy Oliech intercepted that Spaniards line-out to set up the KCB RFC back who burned up the field to sprint for his second but missed the conversion.
The visitors reduced the deficit moments later after converting from a penalty but Simba played a fast game to see Oliver Mang’eni receive a pass from debutant Samuel Motari to cut in for the converted try and extend the lead for a 17-6 to the breather.
Spain returned opting to kick deep and press and it didn’t take long before they converted a penalty but the hosts remained confident to see Oliech side step to feed Vincent Mose who touched down for 22-13.
Spain grounded their first converted try to cut the deficit to two points before they added another to take the lead on 27-22 to put Paarwater boys on pressure.
Mose had a good run along the sidelines but was stopped before Jacob Ojee was tacked on the neck to see Kenya awarded a penalty try that brought matters level before the conversion went through to reclaim the lead on 29-27.
The hero of the nail biting clash was Lawrence Buyachi who sealed the win from a rolling maul eight minutes to the final whistle.