NAIROBI, Kenya, June 4 – The national rugby 15s team inched closer to reclaiming the Elgon Cup following a resounding 48-10 victory over hosts Uganda in the first-leg played at Legends Rugby Club in Kampala.
Kenya grounded seven tries to cut out their work ahead of the second leg to be hosted at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds July 30.
KCB winger Darwin Mukidza scored a hat-trick of tries with David Ambunya, Edwin Achayo, Mike Okombe and Edwin Achayo scoring a piece each.
The match began with a moment of silent to honor the death of former Kenya 15s international Eric Situma who died on May 23 while undergoing treatment at a Nairobi hospital.
The first-half was dominated by Kenya and the Jerome Paarwater side could have found the opener right from kick-off when the ball fell on Max Adaka, who did well to break the line but was stopped by Uganda’s Kevin Makmot.
Kenya’s pressure paid moments later when Chris Lubanga’s poor kick opened up the Uganda defense to give the Simbas a chance to go ahead with a quick converted try.
The Simbas were at it again even before dust could settle when Kevin Mackmot was beaten on defense to see his opposite number on the Kenya team release his man for the second try.
Kenya took advantage of the Uganda defensive lapses to see them ahead 12-0 ahead but the hosts pulled one back from a penalty to turn over.
Paarwarter charges were handed an advantage when Philip Wokorach was penalized for a high tackle, to see Kenya go for a well executed line out and break the line but scrambled to lose possession.
On the other end, Uganda were awarded a penalty but Makmot skewed it wide before Kenya won possession from a ruck but the hosts were alert to grab it back to force the visitors concede a penalty.
This time it was their danger man Wokorach who kicked the ball through to reduce Kenya’s lead to two points.
Kenya suffered a blow when Kabras Sugar RFC’s eighth man Adaka was withdrawn injured.
Uganda started dominating the game with Makmot quick off the ruck to see Uganda finish out three passes but Kalyango knocked on to five Kenya a sigh of relief.
However, Kenya upped their game to extend their lead from a penalty before adding two quick tries after winning from a line out to see Oliver Mang’eni touch down from a maul try.
The Ugandan team soaked in the pressure, failing to contain a well drilled Kenya back-line with Isaac Adimo feeding Mukidza to ground down the fourth try for Simba as they led 29-10 in the first half.
Returning for the second half, Kenya picked up where they left, adding three more tries despite Okombe being sent to the sin bin.
Substitute Nato Simiyu came in with a difference, turning over before he turned provider after his cross kick found Mukidza who left the Uganda back footed to touch the white wash, just before Kenya hammered the final nail on Uganda’s coffin with a last try.