Kenya’s Chipu leave lasting impression, Spain dance to victory
Spain emerged the 2023 World U20 junior trophy after clawing 39-37 at the Nyayo National Stadium while Kenya’s Chipu finished 6th overall in the competition after a heavy 64-10 defeat to Zimbabwe.
Scotland U20 claimed bronze courtesy of beating Samoa 85-10 in the third place offs that curtain raised the hosts who were no match for an improved Zimbabwean outfit that blasted Kenya 64-10 to the shock of their fans.
Kenya had a scoreless first half as the Junior Sables kicked off with huge confidence to lead the match 33-0 and returned to score 31 points in the returning half.
The hosts could only salvage 10 points in front of home fans through a penalty slotted by Faran Juma while substitute James Tsinalo scored a converted try.
The unforeseen results by Chipu sent the Zimbabwean fans to own the stands with traditional songs to cheer their boys who recently in May dethroned Kenya from the Barthes U20 Cup through a 28-7 beating and the countries renewed continental rivalry through their derby.
The return of the world junior trophy, for the first time since the pandemic disruptions that led to three editions being cancelled, was a joy for Kenya who last hosted the competition in Nairobi in 2009 where the team finished fourth.
Throughout the fortnight, the world’s best young talents in the sport’s bicentenary year were displayed in the 8-team competition that witnessed team Spain lift their maiden title and awarded a spot in the 2024 U20 World Championship after a closely contested match of the day.
It was the third time the tournament has been hosted in Africa with Zimbabwe having acted as the initial hosts in 2016.
After a total of 16 matches, Spain claimed the first position while Uruguay finished second in the final standings. Scotland who were favourites consoled selves by whitewashing Samoa 85-10 to finish third and fourth respectively.
The bottom four places were then taken up by Zimbabwe, Kenya, USA, and Hong Kong-China in that respect.
Kenya lost three matches and won one in total. The sole win was a pool B fixture against Hong Kong-China which was won 22-16. Despite the three losses, the underprivileged team nonetheless made classy highlights and earned a crucial experience against the big boys.