The Star (Nairobi)

29 April 2014

Kenya: Portugal Test

Kenya will play Portugal in two rugby Tests on June 7 and 11 in Nairobi. The matches come after a Kenya Rugby Union request to the International Rugby Board to facilitate Kenya's preparation for the title defence of their Confederation of African Rugby Division 1A Championship in Madagascar.

This was revealed by KRU chairman Mwangi Muthee at a Sunday dinner for the Tusker Simba XVs who have just returned from South Africa where they took part in a two month training stint and participated in the Vodacom Cup.

Portugal are ranked 24th by the IRB and the Tests therefore will be a historic occasion. Outside Namibia (22nd) and Zimbabwe (31st), Kenya (32nd) have never played such a reputable overseas opponent.

On the team's just concluded South African sojourn, Muthee said: "The task down in South Africa was to prepare for the forthcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar in June."

He also paid tribute to the Western Province Rugby Football Union and the South African Rugby Union, saying: "We cannot find the words to show our gratitude to the WPRU and their president, Thelo Wakefield, for being instrumental in placing us in the Vodacom Cup and hosting us.

Additionally we also thank Saru and their president Oregan Hoskins for welcoming us to South Africa and for their immense moral and technical support they gave us. We are negotiating with Saru so that we can remain in the Vodacom Cup next year and possibly permanently.

In this regard we would welcome sponsors to help us stage some of the Vodacom Cup matches in Nairobi." Skipper Wilson Kopondo termed the two month stay in South Africa as vital and an eye opener with the lessons learnt from the eight matches played against quality opposition ahead of the qualifiers.

The Simbas lost their final Vodacom Cup game 77-10 to the Free State XV on Saturday in Bloemfontein. The South African outfit scored 13 tries to Kenya's one try.

Moses Omusala barged over the line with Eden Agero kicking over the conversion and Kenny Andola kicking over a penalty. The Free State led 41-3

The Simbas were always on the back foot with the home side dominating the scrums. When the Free State, who only had one player with Super Rugby experience in their team, got their rolling mall going, they were almost unstoppable. Flanker Zingisa April scored three times from a dominant driving mall. The Kenyan team decided to kick for goal when they were already trailing 0-22 and again when 3-27 behind.

For the Kenyans this was the end of the road in their first season of Vodacom Cup rugby after replacing the Pampas from Argentina. The East Africans only managed one win, over the Eastern Province Kings.

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