16 November 2018

Kenya Simbas Down But Not Out Despite Huge Loss

opinion

Simba is down but not out, Hong Kong must fall! The first opponent came and we fell. Kenya Simbas lost 65-19 to Canada in the first round of the 2019 Rugby World Cup repechage tournament in France last Sunday but all is not lost.

I have carefully followed the discussion within rugby circles concerning the effect of that defeat and no one seems to have any hope, obviously apart from the players.

Yes, it's a huge defeat, a big one. Ten tries to three is not a joke!

This is Kenya's first repechage competition while Canada is an ever-present side on the Rugby World Cup stage since the inaugural tournament in 1987.

However, the repechage being a round robin tournament means it's not over until it's over, and there is still a slim chance.

The Simbas may have lost to Canada but how we play the next match against Hong Kong on Saturday will determine what are our chances.

Hong Kong went down 26-9 to the lowest ranked side in the competition, Germany. We should not allow them any leeway.

Kenya and Hong Kong have met in at least four occasions in the last two years and there is something positive to pick from.

Kenya has won one, drawn one and lost two. In those two, Kenya lost with only 10 points and one of the games was played in Hong Kong during the Hong Kong Cup of Nations last autumn.

We saw brilliant moments against Canada from the Kenya side, in particular the beautiful grubber kick through by Sammy Oliech to see Leo Seje touch down under the posts.

Also, the driving maul that set the platform for ball to fly through the hands for Tony Onyango to score.

Kenya emerged for the second half revitalised and got to within inches of the Canadian line twice before George Nyambua went over.

The Simbas really made Canada tackle, and they are super dangerous.

Head coach Ian Snook must go back to the drawing board, work harder and take down Hong Kong.

If Kenya beat Hong Kong and Canada hopefully fall to Germany, it will be back to square one - with of course points difference something to sort later - and the match against Germany on the last day could be the decider.

Kenya versus Hong Kong is the early kick-off meaning we have a chance to get back to a better position pending the late kick-off that could see the result go our way. Full concentration from now on is what is required from our players to deal with the remaining opponents. As they say at Mean Machine, we can sink them!

The players know qualifying at the World Cup would expose them a world of opportunities.

It is also my hope that World Rugby will solve the broadcasting issue so as to have the 40 million plus Kenyans watch and support the Simbas unlike last weekend where we could not watch the match on TV but only through online platforms.

Let's believe it can still be done despite the false start. Hong Kong must fall!

The writer is a Sports Reporter at Homeboyz Radio and Chief Rugby Writer at RagaHouse.com

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