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Simbas on prowl for 2019 qualification in Casablanca

National rugby team, Simbas kick off their 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) qualifications with an away encounter against Morocco in Casablanca.

The African Gold Cup fixture will be a build-up towards qualification for the 2019 Japan RWC courtesy of the six-team home and away continental competition.

Morocco already has two points having held Zimbabwe to a 23-23 stalemate in Harare on June 16 to leave Simbas in points chase.

Simbas head coach Ian Snook’s review of the Atlas Lions from their opener match against Zimbabwe forced the tactician to perform necessary positional swaps to match Morocco’s prowess which saw them leave Zimbabwe frayed by their visit last weekend.

“We are not underestimating any side, Morocco is a good side from what I saw in their match against Zimbabwe but we are better prepared. We seek an away win, which my squad is capable of delivering early in the match. The positional changes we made are well calculated and the experience in the swapped players will be a plus in their new positions,” said Snook.

Simbas skipper, Davis Chenge views the away match as a suitable clash to send them to the second place behind Namibia on the standings.

“We are aware that we have to win this year’s title to directly qualify for the world cup and we have no option but to deliver results. They played well against Zimbabwe in Harare and it being their home turf, we cannot afford to underestimate them,” said Chenge.

Simbas last five matches under former coach Jerome Paarwater registered four away losses and a home draw against Hong Kong while Morocco’s last five matches has seen them win four and draw one.

Coach Snook took over from former boss Jerome Paarwater and has so far delivered a win, an away 34-16 win against Uganda Cranes in the first leg of the Elgon Cup.

Kenya will next welcome Zimbabwe on June 30 at the RFUEA Grounds, a match whose picture will be previewed by how the Simbas will play the Atlas Lions today.

Some of the crucial positional shifts Snook has undertaken according to his view are meant to speed up the play against Morocco, an opinion seconded by his assistant Murray Roulston who goes ahead to predict a good win.

“We named a fit squad because we want to explore all options in that field. Yes it is an away match but that does not change things much, Simbas have been winning away matches before so I don’t see an upset coming,” said Roulston. 

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