Kenya made history on Saturday when they became African rugby champions for the very first time.
A resilient Kenya, backed by a noisy and partisan crowd, came from behind to shut down Tunisia 16-7 at Rugby Football Union of East Africa ground to clinch the Confederation of African Rugby Division 1A final.
Winger Vincent Mose accounted for all Kenya’s points, a try, a conversion and three penalties, while fullback Ben Yahya scored Tunisia’s try converted by stand off Salim Barhoumi.
Favourites to lift the African crown, Namibia and Morocco, failed to come for the tournament but it will not take anything away from Kenya’s achievement.
“This is our greatest achievement. It is the first time we are doing it and beating the higher ranked Tunisia makes it great,” Kenya coach Michael “Tank” Otieno said after the match.
It was a rather nervy start for the hosts though and the bigger Tunisians charged out with intent.
Kenya’s case was not helped much by their shaky line-outs and unforced errors.
On such error led to a try. Tunisia winger Chilli Heithem collected a poor clearance from Kenya and executed a kick and chase.
Kenya’s drift defence mixed up their communication and Barhoumi gratefully picked the loose ball to cross over five minutes into the game.
Barhoumi was sure with the conversion. But Kenya hit back with a couple of Mose’s penalties.
It could have been more but Mose missed two other penalties to end the half 7-6 in favour of Tunisia.
The half was dominated by plenty of broken play as both sides struggled to string up enough phases to mount a meaningful attack.
It could have been the altitude, but Tunisia faded badly in the second-half as Kenya’s fitness and athleticism told.
The home side took possession of the ball deep in the half from a turn over and inside centre Patrice Agunda made the hard yards before punting the ball into Tunisia’s unguarded last quarter.