NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – The national Under-20 Rugby team defied all the odds to stun Namibia 21-18 in a tight contest hosted at Nairobi’s KCB Sports Club to lift a first ever Barthes Cup and earn a ticket to represent Kenya and Africa at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Trophy in Brazil.
The Paul Odera coached side famously known as the Chipu, finally found a formula to crack Namibia’s hard nut who have cut short their dreams of returning to the World Junior competition, having lost the last three finals to them Windhoek.
The last time Kenya qualified for the World Trophy was a decade ago in 2009 when they hosted the competition and finished fourth.
“I am really exited to win the Barthes Cup after reaching the final for the past three years. Namibia is a good team and has been our stumbling block but this time we prepared well, and we had to get one over them especially paying at home,” Kenya head coach Paul Odera who also serves as the Simbas boss said after the match.
He added; “ I salute my boys for the fighting spirit and not giving up, this ypuing boys are champions and Kenya’s future.”
The World Rugby U20 Trophy that is organized by the World Rugby will see this year’s edition run staged in São José dos Campos, Brazil from July 9 -21.
Kenya grounded three tries and converted two penalties to overcome Namibia’s pressure who had pushed the hosts to their try line.
Namibia broke the deadlock with two successfully converted penalties that saw Delron Brandt boot home the second penalty extending his side’s lead to 6-0.
However, Chipu responded in a fascinating fashion as they became the first side to dot a try when Brian Amaitsa fended off a Namibian defender to sprint for the try line, but Dominic Coulson missed the extra two points after conversion went wide.
The try that saw the Kenyan boys reduce the points deficit to only one exited the huge fans who thronged the Lions Den to rally their support behind their home team.
Odera charges could have taken the lead if they had utilized their golden chance they were handed after Namibia was penalized for a penalty, only for the kick to bounce off the posts.
The Kenyan boys made the amends, with Michele Brighetti setting up Peter Ogeta with a wide pass before going over the whitewash for Chipu’s second try and hand Kenya a 6-10 lead despite Andrew Matoka missing the conversion and enjoy the 6-10 advantage at the break.
On resumption, Namibia went over thanks to Shaun Van Wyk pushover try before they converted successfully to claim back their lead with only one-point separating the two sides as the score board read 11-10 in favor of the visitors.
Matoka, who displayed a man of the match performance came to Kenya’s rescue once again after drilling home a penalty from 40m to take a two-point lead.
Chipu were penalized for an infringement and reduced to 13 players to see Namibia handed a scrum that they utilized well to find a second try with the conversion going in and take a 18-13 lead.
Kenya could not lose hope as they landed the third try that took matters to 18-18 draw after missing the conversion but a sigh of relief came by their side after they were awarded a penalty that proved the winner after successfully converting the kick.