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Kenya loses to Namibia, head to repechage

Kenya Simbas’ Coleman Were wheels away from Tunisia players during their Rugby Africa Gold Cup match at the RFUEA Ground on August 11, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The Kenya Simbas will contest the repechage tournament of the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification against Canada, Hong Kong and Germany in November after losing 53-28 to Namibia in the final Rugby Africa Gold Cup decider in Windhoek on Saturday evening.

The Simbas converted all of their four tries while Namibia scored two penalties, a penalty try and dotted down seven tries in the victory.

Consequently, the Southern Africans picked the automatic African qualification ticket while Kenya will battle with the three representatives from the other continental qualifiers for a place in Japan next year.

The home side, coming into the title decider on the back of decent form having hit bonus point wins in all their four previous games got off into a good start, former Under-20 captain Cliven Loubser booting home a penalty for a 3-0 lead.

However, Kenya struck back almost immediately with Willy Ambaka dotting down his third try in two games with Darwin Mukidza booting home the extras as Kenya went into the lead 7-3.

But, the hard hitting Namibians soon re-took the lead, Chrysander Botha dotted down their first try of the game, gliding down under a cloud of tackles with Loubser adding in the extras.

From the restart, Namibia turned over possession after skipper Davis Chenge’s effort to hold on to the ball failed, the home side launching forward and Louis Van der Westhuizen was at the end of it dotting down and the Conversion sent through for a 17-7 lead.

The impressive Loubser then added in the second try but missed the conversion as the Namibians took more advantage of their wave of possession going 22-7 up.

Van der Westhuizen dotted down his second try of the game when Namibia pushed over the line from a maul and Loubser did not make a mistake with the extras booting home for a 29-7 lead at half time,

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Namibia won a penalty and decided to go for the points and Loubser made no mistake to stretch their lead.

Ambaka got his second of the game as Kenya mounted a response, the Kenya Sevens star greasing away from three tackles before powering his way under the posts after a little kick from Isaac Adimo sent him flying away. Mukidza made no mistake with the conversion, Simbas going 32-14 close.

But the hosts responded immediately even before Kenya could settle down, Tjeriko, Mahepisa dotting down and the kick sent between the sticks.

Simbas day turned from bad to worse when Namibia were handed a penalty try and Ambaka sent to the sin bin after he was adjudged to have tripped Johann Tromp as he whizzed away on the left chasing a kick.

Despite the numerical advantage, Simbas have in a fight and substitute Malcom Onsando dotting down after an offload from Mukidza. Kenya had been patiently prying on the Tunisians and when a pocket of space presented itself, Mukidza took advantage.

But the little joy of an out of sorts comeback were blown right on Kenya’s faces when Botha scored his second off a quickly executed counter. The Simbas lost the ball and when they thought they would be given a penalty, the ref had none of it.

Janco Venter stole the ball and ran off with it and just as he was almost on the line, decided to give it to Botha to do the honors. The conversion was sent through, Namibia going 53-21 up.

Substitute scrum half Mohammed Omollo dotted down Kenya’s fourth try of the game after being flicked through by Jacob Ojee, but it did little to prevent the damage with less than five minutes left on the clock, Namibia managing the game to win.

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