Kenya left it late to pull off their second successive Gold Cup win with a 45-36 result over Zimbabwe at the RFUEA Ground on Saturday 30 June 2018.
The hosts had the best start they could have wished for, captain Davis Chenge scoring the first of his three tries off a furious maul, Darwin Mukidza converting for a 7-0 score five minutes in.
The Sables would respond with a Fortune Chipendo try off their first foray into Simbas territory, Lenience Tambwera
scuffing the conversion for a 7-5 score before George Nyambua and Elkeans Musonye combined to set up Chenge for his brace, Mukidza making no mistake with the conversion as the hosts went 14-5 up.
Chenge would then score off a quick line out eleven minutes later, Mukidza converting for a 21-5 score,the Simbas dominant as their visitors went a man down following Chipendo’s dismissal to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on. When Tony Onyango went over for the Simbas fourth try with less than half of an hour played, it seemed like the Sables were in for a long afternoon.
This thought was shortlived as they finally found a rhythm,captain Denford Mutamangira, making his 50th appearance on the day, scoring a converted try to bring the score to 26-12. They soon went further behind, punished with a penalty try before David Makanda scored at the stroke of half time to bring the score to 33-17.
Peter de Villiers half time pep talk seemed to spark magic in the Sables stable, and they indeed kept their hosts on the ropes. Their pressure paid off when Farai Mudariki barged over, his unconverted try making it 33-22. A subsequent penalty try brought the scores to 33-29, a score symbolic of Zimbabwean pressure at this point of the game.
Simbas were soon down to 14 men after Peter Kilonzo was sent to the sin bin, the Sables taking advantage of the extra man to spread the ball wide to McNab who scored their go-ahead try, the ensuing conversion seeing them go 36-33 up, their first lead of this encounter.
The Kenyans would throw on Moses Amusala, Peter Karia, Curtis Lilako, Oliver Mang’eni, Martin Owillah, Max Kang’eri and Dallo Chituyi on for his test debut. Their impact was soon felt as they put the Sables on the defensive. They would retake the lead with a Dallo Chituyi try off the maul, leading 38-36 with precious little on the clock before Chituyi capped his maiden appearance with a brace and the game winning try, Mukidza adding the extras to convert the result.
-Photo Credit/Arigi Obiero/Ministry of Rugby