Kenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15) 29
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15) 17
THE Zimbabwe XVs rugby team relinquished their African rugby title after losing 29-17 Kenya in the CAR Africa Cup Division 1A final at the Stade de Mahamasina in Antananarivo, Madagascar yesterday.
Despite yesterday’s loss, the Sables’ 2015 Rugby World Cup dream remained alive after their win against Madagascar last Wednesday ensured they remain in CAR Division 1A for next year’s tourney, which will act as the final phase of the qualifiers.
Yesterday, Kenya were the better side on the day, crossing the whitewash as early as the first minute before going on to outscore the Sables by four tries to one in a fiercely contested encounter.
The first minute try from Joseph Kangethe barely a minute in the match was followed by another brilliantly converted try from Nick Barasa after he intercepted a sloppy pass from the Sables backline.
Sables wing Stephen Hunduza kept the Sables within touching distance with a well worked out try at the corner flag which was followed by a penalty from Lenience Tambwera to reduce the arrears to 12-8.
Tambwera added two more penalties to take Zimbabwe to within a point of the Kenyans 15-14 at the break.
Zimbabwe improved significantly in the second half, getting over the advantage line with almost every carry while their backline started getting into the game.
It was therefore not a surprise when they went ahead from a Kenyan infringement at the breakdown, Tambwera scoring his fourth penalty as the Sables went 17-15 up.
Kenya reasserted their dominance, immediately, gaining possession and territory before reclaiming the lead after scoring a converted try through Edwin Achayo before Barasa completed his brace to seal the 29-17 win.
Meanwhile, Madagascar beat Uganda 41-25 to retain their place in the top tier group alongside 2013 Division 1B winners Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The winners of the CAR Division 1A next year will automatically qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup with the runner-up entering the repechage process.