NAIROBI, August 26 – National rugby under-19 hopes of lifting a maiden Africa Championship crown suffered a blow after the team succumbed to 25-17 defeat to hosts Zimbabwe on Wednesday in Harare.
Chipu will play neighbors Uganda in the third place play-off on Saturday in a must win clash for them to maintain their place in the Division 1 A top tier.
Champions Namibia who edged out Uganda 49-12 will lock horns with the Young Sables in the final, where the winner will qualify to compete in the 2016 Junior World Rugby Championships.
Zimbabwe speedy winger Brian ensured the hosts got off to a dream start with two brilliant tries in the first 10 minutes of the match before Chipu’s Eighth-man Simon Okoth pulled one back.
Center, Shingi Katsvere had the sizable home crowd on his feet after cutting through the Kenyan defence before diving under the posts with fly-half Joshua Gando adding the extras to give the hosts a 17-5 lead inside the first 25 minutes.
After a slow start to the match, it was Paul Odera charges who went to the break on a high after a try by scrumhalf Charles Kakai to take Kenya within five points of the Young Sables at the break on17-12.
Scrumhalf Earnest Mudzengerere, dived over the whitewash early in the second-half, but Kenya refused to give up as they hit back with a try of their own from fly-half Anthony Odhiambo.
Gando slotted home a late penalty to give the hosts an eight point cushion which they held onto until the final whistle and earn revenge over Kenya who won 20-29 when the two teams met at the same stage two years ago in Nelspruit, South Africa, before completing a double after another hard-fought 27-20 win in Windhoek last year.
Kenya will now have to wait longer before stamping their authority in the continent and just like their seniors who failed to reclaim to title, they will leave to fight for another day.