NAIROBI, August 4 – Kenya’s 15s national side returned home Monday after going down 15-44 to Tunisia in a 2011 Rugby World Cup in Tunis over the weekend.,
The team, which jetted back home on Monday afternoon aboard an Emirates Airliner, saw their chance of debuting in the prestigious World Cup go up in smoke.
They had planned to overrun the North Africans to qualify for the final stage of four teams, at which one World Cup slot is assured.
Paul Murunga and George Mbai scored a try each with scrum-half Peter Mutai kicking over a penalty, while Jude Thumbi made one conversion.
Coach Michael ‘Tank’ Otieno outlined the front-row as a weakness that contributed to the team’s defeat and recalled Nakuru’s front row Lawrence Buyachi, who made his debut as Ferdinand Ngaira also returned to the team.
Fly-half Lavin Asego was unavailable. Kennedy Gikaru, one of the upcoming forwards paired up with the much experienced Frankline Amiani at prop. Also absent was Vincent Ong’era.
In the absence of Asego, Thumbi, the top scorer in Kenya Cup assumed the kicking role.
The squad will not keep the bad memories in their minds for too long because they immediately embark on preparing for their next duty, which is the return leg of the Elgon Cup, where they will face perennial rivals Uganda’s side at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa grounds on August 16.
Following the defeat in Tunis, it will be a humongous task to beat the Cranes from Uganda in the return Leg.
Kenya has a deficit of 17 points after losing to the Cranes 3-20 in the first leg in May, and making up to retain the prestigious regional Cup will be the agenda on each and every member of that squad.
Known as the whipping boys for a long time, the Cranes have managed to show their prowess to come out as a formidable force in the region, performing superbly enough to scoop the CAR Cup last year.