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Simba’s focus shifts to ‘Migingo Derby’ after tough tour

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021 07:38 | By
Simbas coach Paul Odera takes Simbas forwards through a scrum down session as scrum half Barry Otieno follows through (with ball). PHOTO/ALEX NJUE

The national rugby 15 teams Simbas have thrown down the gauntlet following an impressive display in their recent tour of three countries where they were involved in high profile matches.

Simbas played four opponents at three venues including South Africa (2) and Spain (1) which was a good learning experience ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Uganda in 2022.

Head Coach Paul Odera said he is still reviewing the matches which he described as tough, adding that he had noticed the weak point of his charges which during the tour, they recored two wins against Barcelona Diables and Brazil and suffered two losses to Currie Cup select team as well as Namibia.

Odera said the results were insignificant but rather how to look at the potential of each of his players ahead of future international events.
Simbas wound up their sojourn in foreign land  with a ‘Super’ win against a well-drilled Diables Barcelona of Spain.

“Against Diables it was a super win of sorts considering that our opponents were strong. Our overall cohesion in attack to sustain pressure and defensive organisation was an advantage but I must say we are still work in progress.

Mine is just to identify the individuals who are able to perform at this level as we prepare for Uganda in the Africa Cup quarter final next year. The players are yearning for World Cup qualification and I have told them they must work hard for it,” said Odera.

Kenya must also take pride in that they improved in the global rankings from position 35 to 34 but Odera was quit to caution his players about being carried away by the statistics.

“It was a morale boost but the worst the players can do is to relax their tempo. The idea here is to continue working hard and the rest shall fall in place,” he said. I must also say I was impressed by the new players I fielded as they did not suffer from stage fright ,” he said.

Deputy captain Darwin Mukidza said it was also a good learning experience from his senior Dan Sikuta.

“He (Sikuta) led from the front nad especially in the game against Brazil. It was a real test match from kick off up to the last whistle. We gave our all and won won 36-30 and at this rate, we are hopeful that a World Cup slot will become earlier rather than later,” said Mukidza.

Preparation for the 2022 Rugby World Cup (RWC) qualifiers for African sides Namibia and Kenya kicked off on a rivalry renewal when Simbas forwards failed to protect their first half 24-19 lead to lose 60-24 to Namibia before shocking Brazil 36-30 at Stellenbosch.

Namibia Welwitschias went ahead to dispatch Zimbabwe 41-10 to win the World Rugby sanctioned Stellenbosch Challenge.

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