Simbas find the bite to claw Brazil in Test clash


Kenya Simbas XV in action against Brazil in Test clash at Macapa. PHOTO/Brazil Rugby
Kenya Simbas XV in action against Brazil in Test clash at Macapa. PHOTO/Brazil Rugby

The national rugby 15s Simbas narrowly edged hosts Brazil 18 – 17 in a nail-biting World Rugby Test match in Macapa on Friday night.

Kenya ranked 27th in the World Rugby standings has never faced Brazil in an international rugby 15s Test match.

However, the two sides have met more than once in the abridged version of the game.

The two countries are worlds apart; Kenya the nation nestled in the eastern point of the continent while Brazil is almost a continent on its own, the largest country in south and Latin America bordering nine nations.

Kenya arrived in Brazil on Wednesday after a 24-hour journey that traversed two continents.

The match was staged in Macapa, in the Northern part of Brazil at the Zerão stadium.

The Samba boys found their rhythm early with a try after two minutes with 27 year-old Andre Arruda bundling his way over the whitewash after a strong maul by the Brazilian forwards.

Leonardo Cecarelli missed the resultant conversion but made amends with two successful penalty kicks after Kenya infringed twice in a span of six minutes.

Jerome Paarwater’s side struck back with a five-pointer after center David Ambunya gathered the ball expertly after 18 minutes following the restart by Isaac Adimo to dart over and score between the uprights.

Darwin Mukidza reduced the deficit to four with the conversion and he was again on target with a penalty kick 10 minutes later to make it a one point difference.

Cecarelli restored the hosts advantage with a 4 point cushion kicking over his 3rd penalty of the game as  Kenya trailed 14 – 10 at the break.

In the second half, Kenya started on the wrong footing after front row Moses Amusala was sent to the sin-bin for a bookable infringement.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Kenya’s Simeon Muniafu went over the white wash following a set piece move that culminated in a maul that proved too powerful for the Brazilian forwards; the Simbas snatched the lead for a 15 – 14 score.

The match remained finely poised with both sides testing the opponent’s defensive structures but no more tries were forthcoming.

The Brazilians restored their lead marginally with another penalty by Cecarelli but Kenya had the last laugh when Mukidza responded in similar fashion to score a penalty with the winning kick  three minutes from full time for an 18 – 17 full time score against the side ranked nine places below Kenya.

 

Kenya return home in batches mid next week ahead of their next international assignment against Zimbabwe in Harare on July 9th 2016

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Story By Bernard Ndong
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