NAIROBI, Kenya, July 5 – Kenya 15s are on the verge of history when they take on Zimbabwe in their final game of Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Division 1A Sunday with a place at a maiden Rugby World Cup at stake in Madagascar.
The promised land of the World Cup awaits the team if they avoid defeat at the Stade Municipal de Mahamasina in Antananaravivo with the 15s squad keen on emulating their 7s counterparts in playing at the global showpiece of their game.
Jerome Paarwater charges top the round robin Pool on 10 points after winning their two games thus far with their opponents, the Sables in second on six with a single win ahead of Namibia and hosts Madagascar who prop the standings after two loses.
The Kenya Simbas have the upper hand after defeating Namibia 29-22 and Madagascar 34-0 to earn a bonus point, but if Zimbabwe win with a bonus point and score over four tries, Kenya will be knocked out with Namibia also on contention if they beat Madagascar and earn a bonus point.
The champions will open the day’s fixture against the Sables at 1.00pm local time (GMT +3), in what is expected to be a closely contested clash since they have met 15 times over the last 33 years with Zimbabwe having a better head to head record after winning 10 against Simba’s five.
All the focus will be on this clash and back in the country fans will converge at different social joints to cross their fingers as they hope their very own Simbas emerges victor to retain the title and have a taste of the World Cup.
Both sides have good backs and forwards with Paarwater expected not to make major changes from the squad that did duty against Madagascar when they face a wounded side that will be looking to bounce back after a 20-24 defeat to Namibia.
Paarwater is expected to take advantage of their strength to score tries from the scrums and keep their opponent out of their try line.
Loose forward Andrew Amonde is expected to continue captaining the team with KCB trio of loose-head Curtis Lilako, hooker Maxwell Adaka and tight-head Moses Amusala at the front row while Oliver Mang’eni, and Ronnie Mwenesi who mauled down three tries against Madagascar partnering at second row.
Joshua Chisanga who notched a brace will continue to stand tall at the back row alongside Western Bulls Davis Chenge and Amonde.
Scrum half Lyle Asiligwa and fly half Kenny Andola who converted a piece in their second match will hold on as half backs with Nick Baraza and veteran Humphrey Kayange who has so far touched down two times in the tournament combining in the center.
Winger Dennis Muhanji and 7s vice captain Collins Injera will continue making runs from the wings.
If Kenya sails through to the World Cup, a tricky Pool C that consists of power house New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia awaits them.