Kenya 15s (Simbas) will be hoping that lighting does not strike twice in their quest to make a maiden appearance at the World Cup.
Simbas need victory over 2018 Africa Gold Cup leaders Namibia in Windhoek this weekend to seal a ticket to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Kenya increased their chances following Saturdays’ 67-0 thrashing of Tunisia in their penultimate game of the qualifying tournament, setting up a winner-takes-all showdown against Namibia.
That means a comprehensive victory against the Namibians will see Ian Snook’s men make a maiden appearance at the global event. However, Kenya will be reminded not to take anything for granted as four years ago, they were within touching distance but missed out on the 2015 edition in England.
Needing just one point from their last match against Zimbabwe to qualify, Kenya lost 27-10 to blow away their chance of making it to rugby’s biggest festival.
Simbas had beaten Namibia 29-22 and Madagascar 34-0 but all that came to nought with the Zimbabwe defeat.
Namibia are favourites this time as they lead the standings with 20 points, three ahead of Kenya and given their quality and experience, the Simbas have their work cut out. “The result against Tunisia was good. But we need a lot of things to be fixed before we play Namibia. Tactically there will be changes to the team,” said Snook after Saturday’s huge win.
Changes should include a couple of basic mistakes like handling errors and poor passes witnessed on Saturday where Kenya endured a scrappy opening 20 minutes.
Debutant Willy Ambaka made a perfect transition from sevens to 15s when he put Kenya ahead with the first try after only four minutes. The winger picked up a loose ball in the middle of the Tunisian defence to open the scoring for the Simbas.
Tries from skipper Davis Chenge, Andrew Chogo, Jacob Ojee, Elkean Musonye and Darwin Mukidza and five conversions from the golden boot of Mukidza combined to give the home side a commanding 40-0 half-time lead. “Ambaka had a really good game.
Managing to score twice as you saw it was a good afternoon. He is getting better and better and he is obviously talented,” added Snook. The 2018 Africa Gold Cup is doubling up as qualifier for 2019 Rugby World Cup with the winner getting the sole ticket as Africa 1.
Runners-up, Africa 2, will head to global repechage in France during the November test window for the last chance to qualify for the World Cup. They will play Canada, Germany and Hong Kong.