NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Lock Ronnie Mwenesi scored a hat-trick of tries as Kenya took another step towards qualification for the 2015 Rugby World Cup with a 34-0 whitewash of hosts Madagascar in their second Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Division 1 A championship match in Antananarivo on Wednesday.
Avoiding defeat against two-time World Cup campaigners, Zimbabwe on Saturday will take Jerome Paarwater’s charges to dreamland by earning their maiden ticket to the quadrennial global showpiece.
Western Bulls back Joshua Chisanga notched a brace while former 7s skipper Humphrey Kayange won an interception to breakthrough for his second try of the tournament keep their hopes of retaining the continental title on course.
In the earlier kick-off, Namibia bounced back from a 29-22 loss to beat Zimbabwe 24-20 to see Kenya remain the only unbeaten side so far after breaking her winless jinx against Madagascar.
“We just needed to keep Madagascar out of our try line and we did well with our forwards upfront since our aim was to pick maximum points. We have done it although it wasn’t a good rugby but we stuck to our game plan and that really helped us.
“I made the changes because I knew up front was going to be tough and it worked on our favour so we hope to carry on the spirit to our last game against Zimbabwe that is going to be tough but I think the boys are up for it,” elated South African boss Paarwater gushed after the outcome.
“We worked on our backs two days ago just to boost our defensive structures because we knew our strength and conditioning was stronger to keep them up and force them to turnovers which worked today.
“We are not yet through, our focus is on the last game which we need point to qualify but so far we are on track,” the South African concluded.
Paarwater made 11 changes from the team that won against Namibia with Andrew Amonde wearing the arm band as Wilson K’Opondo started on the bench.
Kenya showed early intents, starting the game on a higher pace that saw the host fail to sustain the pressure with Nondescript’s Mwenesi mauling a try in the third minute to open the scoring but fly half Kenny Andola failed to convert for a 5-0 lead.
Paarwater charges opted to take advantage of their physical strength rather than Madagascar’s tackles to pin down them for the better part of the first-half.
In the 10th, Chisanga powered through to touch down and double the scores as Andola this time round converted to open a 12-0 lead.
It only took five minutes for Mwenesi to score his second try but Andola’s kick was unsuccessful before Kayange made good use of the Makis defence lapse to intercept the ball and break through to touch the white wash and give
Kenya a 22-0 lead after Andola missed his conversion.
The match looked as a one way with Tusker Simba enjoying possession in the hosts try line, showing confidence and running well executed set pieces.
Kayange could have scored his brace in the 35th after once again intercepting a second ball but lost it from Madagascar’s tackle.
Three minutes later, Mwenesi completed his hat-trick with a maul try but Scrum half Lyle Asiligwa’s kick went wide as the visitors enjoyed a 27-0 lead at the break.
Madagascar resumed attacking while Kenya played more defensive that was too solid for Madagascar to break.
Tempers flared as Chisanga took on five Makis but was brought down before winger Dennis Muhanji was tacked in the neck by Claudio Ravelomananjara, only to retaliate that forced referee Luke Pearce to send both of them to the sin bin.
Kenya finally settled in the game when Andola knocked on to give the hosts a scrum that was not a threat.
The Makis managed to stop Simba from attacking but Chisanga wrapped up the scoring from a team maul as Asiligwa converted the second kick of the match to send his team-mates to their famous dance at the far corner.
That was the last try for Kenya and the match as Paarwater kept a clean sheet waiting for the Sables to know their World Cup fate on Sunday.
The result sees Kenya go top of the round robin tournament with 10 points courtesy of two bonus point wins.