Kenya 3-23 Chile: Woeful Simbas fall to South Americans in Hong Kong

Friday November 10 2017

Kenya Simbas skipper Wilson Kopondo (centre) is tackled by Hong Kong's Kyle Sullivan (left) and James Cunningham during their rugby test match at RFUEA ground on August 26, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya Simbas skipper Wilson Kopondo (centre) is tackled by Hong Kong's Kyle Sullivan (left) and James Cunningham during their rugby test match at RFUEA ground on August 26, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya Simbas launched their Hong Kong Cup of Nations campaign on a wrong footing when they were crushed 23-3 by Chile at the Kings Park grounds, Hong Kong on Friday.

Simbas failed to score a single try in a woeful display that was characterised by poor ball handling from Jerome Paarwater's boys while the Chileans exhibited powerful runs for the touch downs.

The Simbas’ hunt had a turbulent start when Nato Simiyu and Davis Chenge were sin-binned, forcing Biko Adema and Eric Kerre to cover up for them.

Chile could only manage a penalty through Tomas Ianiszewski as Kenya put up some good defence and upon the return of Nato and Chenge, Simbas upped their game with Darwin Mukidza curling over a penalty to draw level 3-3.

The Chileans easily won turnovers after capitalising on Simbas’ poor ball handling in the ruck to go 6-3 up at the break from another penalty.

Chile were in a class of their own in the second half, pinning the Kenyans in their own half but failed to stretch their lead after getting a penalty that Ianiszewski blasted low.

The unrelenting Chileans finally got their first try through Ianiszewski, who went on to convert to stretch their lead to 13-3.

Ianiszewski then converted Benjamin Soto’s try after a superb flow from the Chileans to go up 20-3.

Ianiszewski added another penalty to see Chile go 23-3 to leave the hapless Simbas stunned.

Russia scored a last-gasp penalty to tame Hong Kong 16-13 in the second match of the tournament.

The championships resume on Tuesday next week where Kenya take on Russia with Hong Kong playing Chile.

It will draw to a close on November 18 where Kenya will play Hong Kong with the Russian testing the Chileans.

The Simbas are using the championship to prepare for next year’s 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.