Simbas maul Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles
Kenya staged a second half thriller, scoring six tries to crush Tunisia 46-15 in a Rugby Africa Division 1A match at the RFUEA grounds on Sunday.
The host team weathered the storm in the first 20 minutes from the hefty Tunisia forwards after the North Africans took an early 6-0 lead.
Man of the match right wing, Darwin Mukidza and fullback, Samuel Oliech, scored a brace of tries apiece.
Substitutes Robert Aringo and Vincent Mose would cross the line each to finish off Simba’s mauling of the Carthage Eagles.
But not before Mukidza, 26, curled over five conversions and two penalties in a well-attended match which Kenya led 14-12 at the drinks to triumph and avoid relegation to Division 1B.
Fullback Khalifa Chams Eddin, who was later substituted after he got injured, slotted over all the Tunisian points from five penalties.
It was a good recovery for Kenya, who lost 20-28 to Zimbabwe in their Division 1A opener on June 13 in Harare.
The victory saw Kenya remain in Division 1A at the expense of Tunisia, who now drop to Division 1B next season.
Kenya will now face Spain in their next Test match on July 30 before meeting champions Namibia in their last Division 1A tie on August 8 in Windhoek.
“We were anxious to perform and ended up committing errors at the breakdowns in the first half and in the process conceded the penalties. After the half time pep talk from the coach, we stuck to basics for a superbly second half display,” said Mukidza.
“Our fitness also came in handy in the second half as we spread the ball wide.”
Kenya coach Jerome Paarwater said the match was as tough as expected but was happy that his players weathered a tough first 20 minutes when the Tunisians slowed down the game.
“My players somehow lost discipline to concede some penalties but we stepped up to dominate in lineouts and scrummages for the turnaround in the second half,” said Paarwater.
RUTHLESS IN ATTACK
The Carthage Eagles forwards were ruthless in their attack that saw Kenya defence concede two penalties that Eddin converted for a 6-0 lead.
But Kenyan forwards marshalled by blind side flanker Brian Nyikuli stepped up with a good exchange resulting to Mukidza’s try that he went on to convert to lead 7-6.
Another penalty by Eddin put Tunisia ahead 9-7 before Mukidza converted Oliech’s try to lead 14-9. Another penalty saw Tunisia edge closer 12-14 at the break.
Mukidza’s penalty increased Kenya’s lead to 17-12 before eigthman Joshua Chisanga intercepted Tunisia pass on the left. He then put Mukidza through to score but missed the conversion to lead 22-12.
A penalty from Eddin reduced their deficit at 15-22 but second row Oliver Mang’eni sliced through at the middle to lay on open side flanker Mike Okombe before Oliech finished it off. Mukidza converted before slotting over another penalty to lead 32-15.
Kenya made six changes bringing in among others Mose and Aringo for Isaac Adimo and Lyle Asiligwa respectively. Aringo went for the dive off a maul as Oliech put Mose through to finish the Tunisians off.