NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 13 – Kenya stayed unbeaten in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup with a 45-25 win over Senegal at the RFUEA Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Steve Sargos put Senegal with an early penalty but the Simbas, with their first foray into the visitors half, built from this and scored through Darwin Mukidza.
He would double his try tally, selling an audacious dummy that split apart the Senegalese defense before racing clear to touch down. The ensuing conversion saw the Simbas go 12-3 up.
Senegal were not out of it yet, Mathieu Boscaro’s hard running eventually creating a platform for Sargos to touch down. Boscaro’s conversion brought the score to 12-10, the visitors, at this point of the game a different proposition from the side that lost 95-0 to Namibia last weekend.
The hosts were forced into an early substitution, Dennis Muhanji replacing the injured Jacob Ojee.
Joshua Chisanga would score moments later, breaking free from the line out to touch down as the Simbas went 17-10 up.
The game would then dip into a lull,Senegal disrupting Kenya’s rhythm before Dennis Muhanji went over with Mukidza converting for the 24-10 half time score.
Jerome Paarwater would throw on Curtis Lilako and Phil Ikambili for Dennis Karani and Peter Karia respectively at the start of the second half.
After seeing little possession at the start of the second half, it was a thing of sheer beauty as the Simbas finally stretched the Senegalese with their phase play, Muhanji combining well with Tony Onyango and Leo Seje to eventually set up David Ambunya for the five pointer, Mukidza converting to put the Simbas 31-10 up.
Martin Owila soon replaced Davis Chenge, slotting into the number eight slot with Joshua Chisanga moving to flank.
From a Kenyan infringement, Sargos drilled home a penalty to cut the deficit to 31 -13, Senegal keen on maintaining respectability on the score board.
The Kenyans, rather painstakingly, tried to ask questions of Senegal but lacked the proverbial finishing kick when in the strike zone, losing two try scoring opportunities in quick succession as the match relapsed into the agricultural exhibition that it was in the first half.
Senegal unable to cope with the constant pressure, capitulated, replacement hooker Ikambili going over the whitewash, his maiden international try seeing Kenya go 38-13 up after Mukidza’s conversion.
They would expose the Kenyan defense, Georges Mendy touching down after Boscaro’s hard work, Sargos converting to bring the score to 38-20.
The visitors were now seeing a lot more of possession, seeking to expose any chinks in the Kenyan armor as the match proceeded. This was not to be as Kenya retained possession from the line out, Kenny Andola’s quick delivery to Leo Seje creating the opportunity for Mukidza to land his hat trick, Andola converting for a 45-20 score. Mendy soon got his double for Senegal, outpacing Tony Onyango to score down the left wing, a twenty point margin separating the two sides.
It would remain this way at full time, the Simbas garnering five points from the win.