NAIROBI, August 28 – The national U19 rugby side will fight it off with Cote d’Ivoire in the 5th and 6th play off on Saturday as the Africa Rugby Confederation under-19 tournament ends in Tunis, Tunisia.
Kenya gave the defending champions Namibia a scare before losing 26-19 on Wednesday.
It was the defending champions who were quick off the mark scoring two converted tries in the 12th and 17th minutes. Mike Wanjala pulled one back for Kenya in the 20th minute as Namibia led 14-5 at half-time.
Namibia came roaring back in the second half scoring a converted try in the 38th minute to lead 21-5. Patrice Agunda replied for Kenya in the 45th minute and George Mutuku converted to narrow the gap 21-12 in Namibia’s favour. Eric Kioko barged over from a maul and Mutuku converted in the 58th minute to bring the game within Kenya’s grasp 21-19.
But Namibia held on and punished a mistake by the Kenyans to score their fourth try in the 65th minute. Wanjala’s attempted chip over the advancing Namibia backs was retrieved and there was no stopping their speedy backs to the line.
“We were just unlucky to concede two tries in the opening minutes. The idea was to contain Namibia for the first 20 minutes. I am not disappointed, the competition has been close and we are still within our aim of improving on our sixth position from the last tournament which means we must beat Ivory Coast in the play-off, “Mitch Ocholla the Kenya coach said.
Team manager Oliver Kituyi agreed, “We kicked away possession and secured 90 percent of our balls in the line outs. It was our game,” he said. One of the IRB Development Managers Jean-Luc Barthes recognized Kenya’s improvement.
Namibia and Zimbabwe will meet in a repeat final after completing their Pool matches unbeaten.
Namibia edged out Kenya 26-19 while Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast kept a clean sheet in the first half before the Zimbabweans won 21-0.
This will be the second time in as many years that the two teams will meet in the final after facing off in Casablanca, Morocco last year with Namibia winning 23-20. North Africans, Tunisia and Morocco will battle it out for the third and fourth positions while Kenya and Ivory Coast will meet in the 5th and 6th position play-off on Saturday.
Kenya 18 Morocco 21
Kenya 19 Namibia 26
Kenya v Ivory Coast (5th/6th)