The Simbas put in a fight but still fell to a 31-10 loss to Russia in Cup of Nations action at the Kings Park Sports Ground in Hong Kong on Tuesday night. They withstood early Russian pressure, getting points off the boot of Darwin Mukidza after the defending champions had infringed deep in their half. Thy would however lose influential number eight Joshua Chisanga who limped off with a suspected knee injury, Elkeans Musonye an early replacement slotting into the flank as Martin Owila was redeployed at eighth man.
Russian stayed composed, sevens star German Davydov grounding Ramil Gaisin’s grubber, Gaisin with the extras for a 7-3 lead with 12 minutes of the first half still to play. He would then convert one of Evgeny Nepeivoda’s two tries to give the Russians a 19-3 lead at the interval.
The Russians were quick off the blocks after the restart, Sychev scoring off the maul, Gaisin sure with the conversion for a 26-3 lead.
Nato Simiyu, barely minutes old on the field as a replacement for Biko Adema,touched town for the Simbas after being played in by Alex Olaba, Mukidza with the conversion to bring the score to 26-10.
Simba would then spurn two try scoring opportunities, first denied on the try line by the Russian defense before spilling the ball in the in goal area.The Russians would score on the counter, Ryabov with the five pointer as they withstood a late Simbas surge to carry home the result.