German machine overpowers Kenya’s Simbas

Jacob Ojee (with ball) of Kenya Simbas is tackled by Michael Poppmeier of German during ...
Jacob Ojee (with ball) of Kenya Simbas is tackled by Michael Poppmeier of German during the Tatu City Series test match between Kenya and German at the RFUEA Grounds on May 27, 2017. German won 30-29. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

Hilsenbeck broke the hearts of local fans that had thronged the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi as his late drop goal set Germany to a 30-29 win over Simbas on Saturday.

That blow delivered Kenya’s first loss in four years on home turf and the Simbas will rue slack defending for allowing the visitors back in it when they should have wrapped up a win and kept the run rolling.

The Germans raced to an early lead after an infringement by the Kenyan camp with Raynor Parkinson kick over the penalty for a 3 – 0 advantage.

The riposte was immediate after the restart as Martin Owila controlled the ball well and offloaded to Impala Saracens Eric Kerre who showed a clean pair of heels for a 5 – 3 score. Darwin Mukidza missed the resultant conversion.

An intentional knock down by the Germans gifted Kenya the chance to stretch their lead but Mukidza’s ambitious 40-meter kick missing its target.

With 20 minutes gone, captain Wilson Kopondo led by example in open play when he spotted a gap in the German defense for a 10 – 3 lead.

Mukidza stretched the deficit  to nine with the conversion. The German’s relentless pressure paid off as they made a first try that Parkinson successfully converted. It trimmed Kenya’s lead to two points.

With the score at 12-10 and the Germans pushing higher, the Kenyans had their backs to the wall with 10 minutes before the final whistle of the first half went off.

The Germans were eager to carry the advantage to the break and should have had their wish but Biko Adema made a last ditch tackle to ensure the tie stood at 12 – 10.

The visitors snatched the lead just 2 minutes after the restart as Kehoma Brenner capitalized on Adema’s knock on to register their second try.

Parkinson failed to add the extras and that try had rattled the Kenyans back into action.

Samson Onsomu opted to use the blind side on attack and Mukidza went flying to offload to Onsomu who scored between the uprights to put the Kenyans back in front.

The technical bench replaced captain Wilson Kopondo with Oliver Mangeni but it did little to stabilize Kenya’s scrum, which almost often snapped when the opposing forwards faced each other.

The hosts stretched their lead in emphatic fashion as Jacob Ojee and Tony Onyango combined well deep in their 22 and KCB speedstar ran the length of the pitch and managed to hold on the ball expertly to offload to David Ambunya to score with Mukidza’s kick going over for a 26 – 15 advantage.

The Germans responded with a try by Sean Armstrong to put pressure on the hosts and the score was a four-point difference as Chris Hilsenbeck converted his teammate’s try effortlessly.

Mukidza afforded Kenya a  7-point cushion with a penalty after an infringement by the tourists.

Kenya eased their feet of the gas pedal, and the Germans capitalized to score with full back Harris Aounallah going over the chalk but Hilsenbeck missed the resultant conversion.

The next five minutes had both sides on the edge after Owila was sent off for a high tackle. The resultant infringement almost scuttled Kenya’s chances of victory but once again Hilsenbeck seemed to have left his kicking boots at home.

Kenya only needed to hold on to possession and consolidate their advantage but a lapse in concentration gifted Hilsenbeck with the chance to redeem himself and he won the game at the buzzer with a drop goal to silence the partisan crowd that had turned up in their thousands.

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Story By Bernard Ndong
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