On Saturday 6th November 2021, the Kenya Simbas faced the Carling Currie Cup Champions Team that was selected by the South African fans at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, going down 85-17.
This was the highest level of competition the Paul Odera charges have faced in the recent past, since the covid19 pandemic hit the world.
Heading into this match, Coach Odera and the players had agreed on the individual targets each player was to achieve and this was what they would look at at the end of the high intensity match.
Speaking at the post match interview, Odera said that he was happy with his match day 23 since they had each achieved one of their set targets, there was immense improvement in the team’s mental and physical strength, “you could see their fighting spirit right to the final whistle,” he said.
From this encounter, the team also realized the need to work on their defense against decoy runners as this played a huge role in the tries The Simbas conceded. Odera also mentioned that they will require to work on the reaction to on pitch pressure because when the team is under too much pressure, then it is bound to make a number of errors. This was the case during the Carling Champions match as a number of the Simbas tries were scored off their mistakes.
“The pace, accuracy, intensity was at another level we have not experienced before. We were punished for almost every error we made. The rugby intelligence was very high. They kept changing points of attack and used the player coming around the back extremely well. The constant pressure on us on attack and defense tested our skills to the very limit,” added Odera.
He credited the players for showing the true Simba spirit throughout the 80 minutes and added that the only way the team will improve on their performance is if they consistently have matches of this level. This high intensity level is what will prepare them properly for the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers next year.
The team now heads to Stellenbosch, in Cape Town for two weeks where they will face age old rivals Namibia and a second team on the 14th and 20th November respectively before heading to Bloemfontein for their final match on 25th November.