NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26- The Kenya 15s team was left ruing ‘schoolboy errors’ as they lost 43-34 to visiting Hong Kong Dragons in the second of two test series matches played on Saturday evening at the RFUEA Grounds.
Being their last match infront of the home fans this season, the Simbas had hoped to bow out with a win, but everything did not go according to script as Hong Kong came in a stronger side, running in four converted tries and five penalties against Kenya’s two penalties and four converted tries.
“We had some schoolboy errors today, lots of them and they showed all game. With less errors I am certain we would have been somewhere better. We really hoped to end the season on a high, but we slid a bit of ground with too many errors that led us to play catch up and we ended up losing,” team captain Wilson Kopondo said after the match.
Assistant coach Charles Ngovi was more philosophical with his post-match analysis, reckoning they were hugely undone by a poor first half.
“They fed off our mistakes. We had them on the back foot for most of the second half but we made a mistake which brought them back in the game. It is something we really have been telling the boys; at this level we can’t make such mistakes,”
“We expected a faster game and retaining the ball but they turned over lots of our balls in the rack which we didn’t expect but looking at second half it was more of what we wanted.” Ngovi said after the match.
Despite the Simbas making 15 changes to the team that played to a 19-19 draw in the first test last weekend, they still couldn’t pip a Hong Kong side that retained its entire squad.
Hong Kong tactician Leigh Jones was pleased with his side, saying their only strategy was to contain the most dangerous of Kenyan players, but it worked easier for them as Kenya hugely played below their level.
“I think probably Kenya underestimated us. They made 15 changes and that gave us great challenge and we responded well. We trained hard all week; we knew Kenya wouldn’t change the game plan much and we only wanted to stop the better players. But, some of them weren’t where they should be and they paid a price for it,” Jones noted after the game.
Kenya had a disastrous start to the game. Mathew Rosslee got the Dragons flying with a penalty within the first three minutes but Kenya’s star boy Darwin Mukidza responded in similar fashion, drawing the scores at 3-3.
But Kenya’s mistakes at the back gifted Hong Kong two quick penalties which were duly converted by Rosslee to give the visitors a 9-3 lead. They extended the scores to 16-6 with a converted try.
Kyle Sullivan touched down under the posts after some patient build up.
Just before conceding the try, the Simbas had a chance to rake in a try of their own. Darwin Mukidza picked the ball on the right, put through a cheeky kick and chase over a Hong Kong player.
However, Joshua Chisanga could not get a good hold of the offload, dropping the ball to gift the visitors possession.
The Dragons continued to pound the helpless Simbas in the second half and they stretched the lead to 33-6 with a penalty and two converted tries. Rosslee, their perfect kicker continued his prowess with an early penalty.
Marcus Ramage then touched down after Hong Kong used their strength to push Kenya well into their own 22 and into the try box. Substitute Alex Wai-Shing then added another try after Kenya lost possession from the scrum, with the burly sub bombing across the try line.
Rosslee converted both tries.
But the hosts responded grounding two converted tries of their own. Tony Onyango reduced the deficit with an electric run from the left drifting into the middle and a dive to dot down. Samson Onsomu added a second with a well taken effort, using his speed to glide across the Hong Kong backline.
Credit however was on substitute Oliver Mang’eni who had done exceptionally well to keep possession after a turnover from a Hong Kong line out. Mukidza converted both tries as Kenya moved to within 13 points, the game standing at 33-20.
But another lapse in defense gifted Hong Kong a penalty and Rosslee converted.
Davis Chenge kept Kenya’s slim hopes of a comeback with the third try of the game after Onsomu quickly started off a set piece, offloading to Chenge who powered across the line. Mukidza booted home the extras.
Hong Kong responded, using their physique again to bully the Kenyans a few meters off the try line with Matt Lamming dotting down and Rosslee converting.
Mukidza responded late on with his own converted try, but it was too little too late for the Kenyans.
They will now shift their attention to the Hong Kong invitational four-nations tourney in November involving Chile, Russia and the hosts.