Kenya Simbas coach Ian Snook has described the 2019 Rugby World Cup Repechage qualifier as an eye-opener to the low standards of 15s rugby in the country.
Snook, who led the national 15s team in Marseille, said that the rest of Africa has a lot do to match the 1997 and 2007 World Rugby champions South Africa who he thinks are at par with leading countries in the world.
The New Zealand-born tactician noted that performances by Canada, Hong Kong and Germany at the just concluded Repechage qualifier in France is sufficient evidence of how teams have developed in the game.
“These teams demonstrated that rugby is many countries is forging ahead whilst in Africa there is much to be done,” said Snook.
However, Snook pointed out that his charges improved with every match despite leaving France without a win. Kenya Simbas lost 65-19 and 42-17 to Canada and Hong Kong respectively before crushing to Germany 43-6 in their last duel on Friday night.
Canada become the last country to qualify for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan after beating Hong Kong 27-10 to win the Repechage tournament unbeaten. They had beaten Germany 29-10.
Germany finished second after recording a bonus-point victory over Kenya as Hong Kong finished third with Kenya last.
"There are a lot of things we should work on but we shall review when we reach Nairobi," said Snook.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Richard Omwela admitted that Kenya was not ready for such a high magnitude championship.
“We like it or not, Kenya wasn’t ready considering the inadequate preparations, lack of funding and quality build up matches,” said Omwela adding that the precise remedy to Kenya’s problems is a fully-fledged high performance training camp.
Omwela griped that Simbas' inadequacies were clearly manifested by their bright start in all matches before losing grip in the second half.
“It says a lot about our level of fitness. We can’t sustain pressure for 80 minutes. Same case happened during the Gold Cup that was the Africa qualifier,” explained Omwela. “Our endurance preparations is close to zero."
Omwela said we can’t dream of featuring at the World Cup yet we can’t beat Namibia and Zimbabwe comprehensively. “We could have received an embarrassing defeat in Japan.”
Omwela said Kenya’s preparations for 2023 World Cup must start now. “15s rugby hardly gets sponsorship and that is why the government’s funding is required. We need to start identifying boys at primary and high school level,” said Omwela.