Simbas Roar…And Roar Loudly In Bulawayo

Almost thirteen years to the day since their last appearance in Bulawayo, the Simbas slaughtered Zimbabwe with a comprehensive 41-22 win in Rugby Africa Gold Cup action at the Hartsfield Ground on Saturday 22 July 2017.

Darwin Mukidza booted Kenya ahead with a penalty before nippy Hilton Mudariki, attacking from the base, prized open the Simbas defense to touch down with Tich Makwanya converting for a 7-3 Sables lead.

The hosts were enjoying territory and possession, the Simbas reduced to a purr, and largely backpedallingbefore inching forward, Peter Karia’s offload setting up Sam Onsomu for the try under the sticks, Mukidza converting for a 10-7 score.

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The Zims, ever dangerous with ball in hand retook the lead when Takudzwa Kumadiro went over at the right hand corner for his sixth try of the championship as the hosts now led 12-10.

The Simbas started to see more of the ball, first electing to find touch after Zimbabwe had been penalized. They kept possession from the ensuing lineout and rolling maul, Davis Chenge going over with Mukidza’s conversion giving the Kenyans a 17-12 lead at the break.

Moses Amusala opened Simbas’ second half account, going over with Mukidza converting to make it 24-12 but the Sables responded through Makwanya’s penalty and Connor Pritchard’s converted try to come to within two points as they continued to dominate possession.

As was the case in the first half, the Simbas were slow to settle into a rhythm but did so, after surviving incessant pressure from the hosts. Martin Owila scored off the maul, Mukikdza converting for a 31-22 score before Wilson Kopondo exploited static Zim defending, carrying the ball 20 meters, eventually going over with Mukidza responding  with the obligatory conversion, Kenya leading 38-22 before sealing the win with penalty for the full time score.

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