Zimbabwe dash Kenya’s dream - Daily Nation

Zimbabwe dash Kenya’s dream

Sunday July 6 2014

National rugby team players Joseph Kang’ethe (left) and Emmanuel Mavala train at Barclays Bank Sports Club on May 17. Kenya on July 6 lost 10-27 to Zimbabwe to give up their hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

National rugby team players Joseph Kang’ethe (left) and Emmanuel Mavala train at Barclays Bank Sports Club on May 17. Kenya on July 6 lost 10-27 to Zimbabwe to give up their hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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It was so close yet far for the national rugby team as it failed to qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup finals in England and Wales.

Kenya who needed just needed one point from their last match against Zimbabwe lost 27-10 to blow away their chance of making it to rugby’s biggest festival.

But Zimbabwe’s efforts were all in vain as Namibia, who needed 40 plus points from their match against Madagascar ended up crushing the hosts 89-10 at the Mahamasina Stadium, Antananarivo make it to their fifth RWC finals.

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS

Kenya appeared headed for their maiden RWC finals after beating Namibia 29-22 and Madagascar 34-0 but all that came to naught with the Zimbabwe defeat. Namibia joins automatic qualifiers South Africa.

Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya finished with 10 points each. However, Namibia have a better aggregated followed by Zimbabwe, who now gets a second chance to qualify at the Repechage semi-final play-offs.

Zimbabwe will meet Russia on August 2 with Uruguay taking on Hong Kong in the other semi-final on the same day. The winners will then meet in a home and away final where the team with a superior aggregate will become the 20th side to qualify for the RWC finals.

Jerome Paawarter’s side went into the match at the top of the log with 10 points but was outplayed by the Zimbabweans, who knocked them off the rucks coupled with attacking flair. The physical Sables took the lead when Guy Cronje converted a penalty but the Kenyans levelled in a similar fashion from Lavin Asego.

Zimbabwe were intense, working out their set-pieces well as they forced Kenya into mistakes in their rucks. Cronje would convert another penalty to give Zimbabwe a 6-3 lead. Kenya warded off Sables attacks with good display from the Kang’ethe brothers James and Joseph alongside Sammy Warui in the forwards.

There was breakthrough when scrum half Edwin Achayo off-loaded to Asego before laying outside centre Humphrey Kayange, who sliced through the gap to score.

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