NAIROBI, August 25 – The national rugby under 19 side face Namibia in a must win tie on Wednesday in the Africa Rugby Confederation under-19 tournament in Tunisia.
The juniors narrowly lost to a determined Morocco side 21-18 in the opening group match of the Africa Rugby Confederation Cup on Thursday last week.
A win will be enough to put the Kenyans through to the final and Coach Mitch Ocholla hinted making changes to the team which narrowly lost to Morocco.
“We needed composure and confidence. Lack of concentration and some wrong options cost us the game,” he said.
He added that all they needed was some fine-tuning for the match against Namibia.
“It is going to be a cracker especially after we had a chance to watch them against Morocco. Against Morocco, we turned over several balls, ruled in the line-outs but lacked in the contact area,” Ocholla explained.
“The Pool is still open and if we beat Namibia it is a ticket to the final. Our priority is to do better than the sixth place we finished last year,” the coach added.
Team manager Oliver Kituyi, said competition is very tight with very little difference between the six teams. Namibia’s points were all penalties and so were Cote d’Ivoire’s.
Kituyi rued the absence of two Kakamega High schoolboys Felix Kayange and Eric Salamba. “They are resourceful players who are able to change the tempo of the game,” he acknowledged.
Team captain Musalia Mwenesi said the match against Morocco was not hard. “We started quite well but relaxed after taking a 13-0 lead. Kenya was superior in set pieces and open play but as the game progressed, a few options we took did not work and Morocco were lucky to score because some of our kicks which were meant for touch fell short,” he said.
At stake is a place to next year’s International Rugby Board Junior World Rugby Trophy. Last year, Namibia narrowly beat Zimbabwe 23-20 in Casablanca, Morocco to book a ticket to the first Junior World Rugby Trophy in Chile. They finished fifth.
The week long tournament kicked off on Thursday with the defending champions Zimbabwe edging out hosts Tunisia 18-11 in a thrilling encounter.