NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 –Having started their Rugby Africa Gold Cup campaign with a 33-33 home draw against Uganda, the Kenya 15s side will be taking no chances against Tunisia when they tackle the North Africans on Saturday at the RFUEA Ground.
Tunisia started their campaign last weekend suffering a 53-7 loss at the hands of defending champions Namibia and despite that result, the Simbas will not take the match lightly.
“We learnt our lessons from the match against Uganda. We went into the game overconfident and we rushed things because we wanted to score early goals. We ended up making many mistakes but now we have learnt our lessons. We are going to take this match seriously because I know Tunisia are good especially their forwards,” deputy skipper Darwin Mukidza told Capital Sport.
“This will be a tricky game which will need a different approach because the two countries play a different brand of rugby, but I am confident we have trained well enough to get a win at home,” the skipper added.
Placed fourth in the log, Kenya will be looking to scale up and pick their first win at home this season, having lost to Germany in a test match in May and then drawing with Uganda in the Gold cum Elgon Cup match a fortnight ago.
Assistant coach Dominic Habimana reiterated the same sentiment, but says the charges will not be under pressure as they head into the fixture.
“We expect a tough match. They are rough but we want to contain them in the forwards. With the Africa Cup, every game is a must win. We are disappointed of course to drop two points against Uganda and now we have to rectify. We can’t drop more points,” Habimana commented.
Kenya has a good record against Tunisia having won five of the last eight meetings between them. The last meeting between them was at the RFUEA Ground on June 28 with Kenya winning 46-15.
Head coach Jerome Paarwater has named a strong squad for the tie on Saturday, making six changes in the squad, including a starting berth for returning skipper Wilson Kopondo.
Team manager Wangila Simiyu has also affirmed the team will be going out all offensive and has urged fans to come out in large numbers and support just like they did against Uganda and Germany.
“Tunisia will come in like a wounded lion because they lost to Namibia. They would like to prove a point in Kenya, so we cannot underrate them. We expect a very explosive and physical game,” Simiyu noted.
He has also acknowledged the past two weeks of training have seen them improve massively and he expects a different performance against the Tunisians.
“We have seen good improvement in our scrummaging. We have also worked on the flow of our game. We also have an altitude advantage and if we play a fast game, they will not take the pressure on it. Our intention is to run that game,” Simiyu added.
Meanwhile, Kenya Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Ronald Bukusi has said the Union is working on modalities to ensure that head coach Paarwater spends more time with the team especially as they head towards 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.
Paarwater has been spending limited time in the country with the team, most of the time being in South Africa. Two days to the Tunisia match, Paarwater is yet to link up with the team.
“It is something we are looking at actively to ensure we are well prepared. In the run up to the qualifiers, all this is being taken into consideration, Bukusi said.