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Kenya’s Chipu aim for bounce against Spain after Samoa loss

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Kenya Samoa scaled
Action between Kenya and Samoa in their opening game
  • Chipu lost to Samoa 34-25 in their opening game
  • Kenya plays Spain on Thursday
  • Kenya is hosting the World U20 Trophy for the first time since 2009

Kenya’s Under-20 Rugby team, Chipu will hope for a better outing on Thursday when they take on Spain in their second match at the World Rugby U20 Trophy tournament at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Chipu started their campaign on a wrong footing, losing 35-24 to Samoa in their opening game over the weekend and head coach Curtis Olago hopes for a better performance when they take on the Spaniards.

“We need to work better and use our possession in effective ways. It will not be an easy match but we are ready to do better,” said the tactician.

Reflecting on the defeat to Samoa in the opening game, the coach said they were punished mostly because of their own mistakes.

“We started the game well but I think we lost it in about 10 minutes in the first half. We just didn’t play according to plan and we allowed them to control the game. We wanted to maintain the pace of the game by keeping the ball. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep the ball most of the time,” Olago said after the defeat.

Meanwhile skipper Michael Wamalwa says the players are determined to turn things around against Spain.

Lack of exposure cost us

“This was the first game and the boys got the experience and the exposure. Now they know what to expect. So, I am hopeful we will bring some good results come Thursday,” Captain Wamalwa said.

Against Samoa, two quick tries from captain John Mata Samuelu and a double from winger William Hunt downed Kenya’s Chipu.

It was Kenya who opened the scoring, as rangy second-row Stanslas Shikoli powered over the corner on their first entry into Samoa’s 22, after they had soaked up 10 minutes of early pressure at the other end of the pitch.

Their lead, however, did not last long. Afa Moleli picked up a loose ball after his pack had shoved Kenya off the ball in a scrum, fed Paul Stanley out of the tackle and he raced clear to the corner. Moleli missed the conversion, but added a penalty soon after to give Samoa the lead.

Kenya were being driven back at the scrum, but gave as good as they got in the loose. As the clock ticked past the half-hour mark another attack was turned over and Samoa demonstrated how dangerous they were on transition. It was simple, devastating rugby.

A break, and a footrace to the line pulled up just short. Recycled, the ball went through the hands, before a long pass to Hunt, who dived over.

An early second-half penalty for Kenya’s Eddy Murage appeared to kick Junior Manu Samoa up a gear. Stanley, back in the fray after a yellow card, ripped through the Chipu defence and deep into their 22. A quick penalty later and second-row Samuelu crashed over from short range. He added a second, from a similar distance, a few minutes later to extend Samoa’s lead.

Kenya causing problems at the back 

It looked as if that would open the floodgates. But Kenya weren’t done and were still causing problems with their speed in the loose. Then, just after the hour, they played against type, patiently phasing their way to Samoa’s line, and Wicklife Otieno flopped over from close range after Samoan back-row Benjamin Faavave was yellow carded.

There was time left for more excitement from the Nairobi crowd as livewire Kenya gave the tiring Samoans – who picked up four yellow cards to play 40 minutes with a numerical disadvantage – the runaround.

With 74 minutes on the clock, Hunt skirted round three defenders for his second as he took a scenic route to the try-line from inside his own half, and proved that there’s much more to them than power alone. It ended the match as a contest.

But Kenya had the final say, mauling over for a deserved pack score from a five-metre lineout with just a couple of minutes remaining, before Raphael Wanga benefited from a Samoa error to score the final try.

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