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Rugby under-19s earn top tier promotion

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 1- The national under-19 rugby team returned home from Zimbabwe where they clinched promotion to the top tier of Confederations of African Rugby.

They thus earned the right to contest for Africa’s sole ticket to the 2013 Junior Rugby World Cup trophy, the annual tournament winners qualify for the IRB Junior World Cup.

Kenya sealed promotion to the top-tier after beating Morocco 16-8 in their final match in Group B that also included Zambia and Madagascar with an unbeaten record.

Head Coach Mitch Ocholla said, “We again dominated the set pieces, we also showed improved concentration on the kick offs. There was good ball retention and we mauled better. We still need to work on our defence in open play as well as on our kicks for touch and goal.”

Morocco started the brighter of the two sides, going 8-0 ahead with a drop goal and an unconverted try barely ten minutes into the match.

Andrew Wekesa would be sent to the sin bin on 16 minutes for repeatedly breaching the offside line.

The match remained a close contest and full back Samuel Motari scored his side’s opening points, drilling home a penalty, as the scores remained 8-3 to Morocco heading into the breather.

Kenya would dominate upon resumption, taking the game to the North Africans. Motari would miss two goal attempts after his side were twice awarded penalties from Moroccan infringements but his third attempt was successful, reducing Morocco’s lead to 8-6 mid way through the second half.

Morocco were reduced to 14 after one of their players was sent off for stamping Kenya captain Tony Owuor’s head.

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Motari would convert the ensuing penalty to see Kenya go ahead for the first time in this match, leading 9-8.

They would continue to dominate play, hooker Adrian Munyua scoring a try from a well-worked maul right at the death.

Motari’s successful conversion saw Kenya claim the historic 16-8 win over Morocco and top the group after beating Zambia 22-13 and Madagascar 31-14 in their opening two matches.

The bottom team of the elite Pool A was demoted to Group B at the same tournament.

Kenya’s squad for Zimbabwe

Antony Orege Okwiri, Eric Wachira Kabinga,Andrew Khamala Wekesa,Jacob Owaa Ongondo, Adrian Muthomi Munyua, Francis Mwita,Ian Lisangari,Dan Sikuta,Emmanuel Mavala,Tonny Owuor Omoroh,Joseph Mawira ,Joshua Chisanga,Martin Muita Kinuthia,Anthony Matei,Lugonzo Augustine Ligame,Humphrey Owuor Otieno,Haron Ongera Nyachoga,Lamech Billy Odhiambo,Bush Mwale,Patrick Maina Wachira,Samuel Motari Nyarega,Vincent  Ben Jumba,Njunge Njenga,Ian Kibet Tagi

Management: Mitch Ocholla (Head Coach),Paul Murunga (Assistant Coach),Oliver Wekesa Kituyi (Team Manager), Gerald Omondi (Physio)

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