- Chipu suffered a massive loss to Zimbabwe in the fifth place play-off
- The Kenyan boys scored only 10 points
- Spain won the overall title
Zimbabwe spoilt Kenya’s closing party with a 64-10 victory in the fifth-place play-off on the final day of the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Nairobi on Sunday.
Both teams impressed during the Pool stages, each winning one of three matches and running their other opponents close, but this was a one-sided affair dominated by the superior power and slick offloading game of the Junior Sables, who ran in 10 tries in all.
Despite a noisy home crowd, it was all Zimbabwe from the first whistle and they took the lead in the ninth minute through Tawanda Matipano. The winger improvised from a loose pass to kick ahead and touch down in the right-hand corner after an impressive turn of pace.
Matipano bagged another try in the 17th minute, capitalising on a powerful carry from number eight Shingi Manyarara, who recently signed for Racing 92, to score in the same corner.
Try number three soon followed, this time inside centre Dion Khumalo cutting a devastating angle after a lineout to power over near the posts and Zimbabwe were in full control when prop Tadiwa Chinwada barrelled over from close range just before the half-hour mark.
A devastating team move down the left resulted in winger Benoni Nhekairo touching down for the fifth try before half-time.
Further scores from Manyarara and Simbarashe Kanyangarara extended Zimbabwe’s lead in the second half but Kenya found a glimmer of hope when Khumalo received a red card for a dangerous tackle just before the hour mark.
Kenya scored their first try from the resulting penalty through replacement James Tsinalo, but the hosts couldn’t make their numerical advantage count and it was Zimbabwe who scored next, a penalty try compounded for Kenya by two yellow cards.
Further scores, including a trademark flying finish from replacement Shadreck Mandaza, put a gloss on the scoreline and no doubt left Zimbabwe – who began the tournament by conceding 51 points in the first half to Scotland – wondering what might have been.
Spain win title
Meanwhile, Spain have made it to the top tier of international age-grade rugby for the first time after winning a sensational World Rugby U20 Trophy 2023 final against Uruguay.
Both teams played some breathtaking rugby and the good-sized crowd in Nyayo National Stadium was treated to a spectacular 10-try match that went one way and then the other before ending 39-32 to Spain.
For Spain, there was joy but for Uruguay, the heartbreak of missing out on a second title after their last win in the inaugural final in 2008 was there for all to see.
The final rounded off a brilliant last day of action in the Kenyan capital, one in which there were also big wins for Scotland, Zimbabwe and USA.
Openside Monroe Job scored a hat-trick on his U20 debut as clinical Scotland secured third place in the U20 Trophy with a 12-try, 83-10 win over Samoa in the bronze final.
Earlier USA opened the final day’s action at the World Rugby U20 Trophy, securing a seventh-place finish with a comfortable 47-22 win over Hong Kong China.
But the home supporters inside the Nyayo Stadium didn’t get the finish they wanted after Kenya lost 64-10 to Zimbabwe in the fifth-place match. It was the Junior Sables’ biggest-ever win and highest score in the competition.