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Late tries as Simba survive Zimbabwe scare

Kenya 15s skipper Davis Chenge goes over for a try during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup match against Zimbabwe at the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi on June 30, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 30- Two late tries from Dalmus Chituyi, one of which was converted saw the Kenya Simbas keep their dream of qualifying to next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan on course as they beat Zimbabwe 45-36 at the RFUEA Ground on Saturday afternoon.

The Simbas were staring at defeat after a second half onslaught from the visitors but Chituyi crossed over twice within the last five minutes to give Ian Snook his second win in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup.

The Sables had come off the second half breathing fire and scored three tries all unanswered by the Kenyans, but the home side’s never say die attitude took them over the line to record their second win of the tournament.

The Simbas showed they were in for business starting off on the front foot from the opening minute.

Chenge scored the first of his first half three within six minutes of the game powering over the try line from a Kenya maul. Mukidza booted home the extras as Kenya went 7-0 up.

The home side, powered by a full to capacity RFUEA Ground continued to dominate the early proceedings but their drive was nipped in the bud when Tapfuma Parirenyatwa dotted down on the left in what was the Zimbabweans’ first foray in the Kenyan 22.

Man of the match Samson Onsomu offloads the ball under pressure from Zimbabwe players during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup match at the RFUEA Ground on June 30, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The conversion was wide, Kenya maintaining a 7-5 lead.

Ian Snook’s charges made an immediate response after conceding the try, some good interplay between Elkeans Musonye and George Nyambua opening up space for the Simbas before Samson Onsomu fed Chenge to power over the chalk.

Mukidza stepped up for the conversion and made no mistake, Simbas going 14-7 up.

Skipper Chenge completed his hatrick and in superb fashion. Kenya had picked the ball in their own half before booting it to the Zimbabwean side and forced a line out.

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The home side played an intelligent set piece, Andrew Chogo playing an intelligent short ball to Chenge under the Zimbabwean feet and the skipper dipped beyond the line to dot down. From a tight angle, Mukidza registered his third conversion, Kenya going 21-5 up.

Tony Onyango escapes a tackle from Zimbabwe’s Ernest Mudzengerere during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup match at the RFUEA Ground on June 30, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

It all seemed a successful afternoon for the Kenyans when Tony Onyango stretched over the line for his third Gold Cup try having struck twice last weekend in Morocco, some patient build up by the home side seeing the ball sprayed out on the right for Onyango to register a try.

The visitors reduced the deficit through skipper Denford Mutamangira who dotted down on the left after the Zimbabweans exploited the backline to find some space. The cobversion was good, Sables going to 12 points against Kenya’s 26.

The Simbas were handed a huge advantage when Fortunate Chipendu was sent to the sinbin for a repeat offense and they took due advantage pushing and earning a penalty try after Chogo was appended at the base.

This saw Kenya go 33-12 up.

Zimbabwe though, despite being a man down ensured they finished the half with their third try of the game, pinning Kenya same way they did on their second try by patiently building up and finding space on the left.

Kenya fly half Isaac Adimo surges forward under pressure from Zimbabwe players during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup match at the RFUEA Ground on June 30, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

David Makanda dotted down after an offload from skipper Mutamangira. The conversion was wide, scores going to the break at 33-17.

However, things turned south for the Simbas in the second half as the Zimbabweans came back in full strength, battering the Kenyans to get back within striking range.

Farai Mudariki then dotted down Zimbabwe’s fourth try of the game once again the visitors exploiting the left channel to find space and dot down.

They were almost getting a seond one minutes later when Leniece Tambwera broke off on the right but Tony Onyango made a superb try saving tackle on the left.

But, the Sables kept their pressure and Kenya gave in with Peter Kilonzo giving away a penalty try with a high tackle near the try line. Kenya were reduced to 14 men as Zimbabwe went 33-29 on the score board.

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Tony Onyango surges on into the try box under pressure from Zimbabwe’s Mathew McNab during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup match at the RFUEA Ground on June 30, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The visitors took the lead for the first time in the game when Mathew McNab raced away on the left before touching down with the conversion going over.

Zimbabwe were 36-33 up much to the chagrin of the Kenyans.

But kenya pressed on despite the massive pressure and Zimbabwe forcing them to mistakes.

Chituyi rolled over the line with four minutes left, putting the ball on the ground after kenya pushed in from a scrum. He dotted down in almost similar fashion for what proved to be the final nail with Mukidza converting.

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