NAIROBI, Kenya, July 6- Kenya 15s dream of qualifying for a maiden Rugby World Cup was buried by a heartbreaking loss to Zimbabwe as Namibia inherited their continental crown to qualify for their fifth showing at the global showpiece on Sunday in Madagascar.
Having been on pole ahead of the final matches of the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Division 1A Championships, Jerome Paarwater’s charges imploded to a crushing 27-10 loss to Zimbabwe as Namibia ran roughshod over the hosts in a monster 89-10 shellacking over Madagascar to steal the Rugby World Cup berth with the bonus win they needed if Kenya fell.
Zimbabwe were forced down to second and will face Russia on the weekend of August 2 and 3 in the next phase of the qualifiers.
The winner will meet the victor of the second qualifier between Uruguay and Hong Kong in a two-leg knockout on September 27 and 28 with the return leg set for a fortnight later.
The Sables grounded three tries and two penalties while Kenya touched down once through veteran Humphrey Kayange with fly half Lavin Asego’s penalty earning their other points in a match the defending champions imploded.
Head coach Jerome Paarwater made 10 changes from the squad that beat Madagascar 34-0, with the Kang’ethe brothers, Joseph and James, captain Wilson Kopondo, Patrice Agunda and Brian Nyikuli starting as back rows Andrew Amonde and
Joshua Chisanga who scored two tries were rested as well as Ronnie Mwenesi who scored a hat-trick of tries.
Zimbabwe proved once again to be too strong to Kenya after outclassing them in the line outs, scrums and break down to dominate the clash that saw the Sables record their 11th win after 16 encounters since 1981.
The Sables who have been to the World Cup twice in 1987 and 91 drew the first blood after pilling pressure to the Kenyan try line that saw Paarwater charges concede a penalty that fly half Guy Cronje converted for a 3-0 lead.
Kayange then had an awesome run from the center but an unfortunately his younger brother Collins Injera was cited for a knock on.
Few minutes later, the Simbas won a penalty that Asego did well to convert to put the matters level, but it did not take long before Cronje extended the lead through a penalty for a 6-3 lead.
In the 31st minute, former skipper Kayange touched down his third try of the tournament after making a brilliant run from Asego’s pass to beat Riaan O’neill hands down for Asego to convert for a 10-6 lead.
O’neil put the Sables back at the top after powering through the push over to ground the ball down as Guy made no mistake to convert to turn the score board to 13-10.
Kenya conceded a second try from the scrum as Hilton Mudaraki touched the white wash but Guy missed the conversion for a 18-10 lead.
Guy hammered the final nail on the coffin scoring a third try for Zimbabwe from the scrum down and went ahead to converts his own kick for 27-10.