Simbas backrower Dalmus Chituyi returned to the national duty after three years of missing in action-coming off the bench at the RFUEA Grounds on Saturday to earn points against Zimbabwe for a 45-36 win in an African Cup tie which doubles up as the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) qualifier.
Simbas coach Ian Snook proved he had what the Simbas lacked before, the precision in making the right subs at the right time, bringing in Chituyi in place of George Nyambua, a change which saw Chituyi quickly disappoint the leading Sables to spare Simbas a loss despite a sinbin that reduced Kenya to 14 players.
Kenyan forwards attacked throughout the match to earn advantages in the set pieces, Chituyi stepped in to make two carries off a scrum down and a maul to power his way across the chalk twice under similar circumstances to make it five tries from the forwards with a hat trick coming off fellow backrower and skipper Davies Chenge.
Simbas tactician Ian Snook and his assistant Roulston Murray made minimal changes in that match, replacements which brought the Simbas back into the game after the Sables made a daring comeback despite Simbas breaking for the first half with a comfortable 33-17 lead. Kenya’s starting 15 kicked off the match on a high, controlled the match by denying the visitors the ball to maintain the possession.
Former Springboks coach and current Zimbabwe head coach Peter de Villiers seemed to have injected belief in the Sables at half -time, instructions that drove Zimbabwe hungry to take the lead away from Simbas paw in their own den.
Territorial defence relapses off opponent’s set pieces at Kenya’s 22 yard was the game changer for the Sables who punched their way to the try line through their heavy forwards who had an upper advantage when it came to converting their mass into their propelling factor when gaining the ground.
Having put Kenya to a shoulder charge test at the break, Sables were treated to a rude shock after Snook applied almost a similar game plan to regain the lead, an illustration that Kenya’s fitness condition and agility was at its peak, lead by a firm mental strength.
Simbas skipper Davies Chenge knew the stakes going into the match, a factor that propelled them to work as a team for the win.