Wasteful Kenya escapes Hong Kong defeat in World Rugby Test

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-21 15:39:56|Editor: Yang Yi
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By Kimathi Kamau

NAIROBI, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya were left to rue an erratic display as they battled to salvage a 19-19 draw with visiting Hong Kong of China in the first of two World Rugby Test clashes played in Nairobi on Sunday.

Six players were handed their debuts in the home team known as Shujaa as South African head coach, Jerome Paawater sought to experience the depth of his squad.

"We started off a bit slow but picked up the pace in the second half. Small lapses cost us but a good result as we look forward to the second Test," Simbas Team Manager, Wangila Simiyu said after the contest.

"We had too many errors and we were almost punished for it. We had flashes of brilliance but you must play for the full 80 minutes in a Test match," Simiyu added.

"This is a game we should have won and it's unfortunate we could not do it," Hong Kong coach, Leigh Jones who expected a much tougher contest stated.

The much-changed Simbas failed to breakdown The Dragons at the packed Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) Grounds in Nairobi and Paarwater will hope for a better showing when the sides meet again next Saturday.

Simbas suffered their first setback in the fifth minute of the encounter when seasoned Biko Adema went down injured leading to stoppage of play the before the he was forced off and Kenny Andola came on in his place.

Kenya then fell behind when Matt Rosslee grounded the ball for the first try before kicking over the extras for 0-7 to Hong King in the ninth and barely six minutes later, The Dragons stunned Simbas when Tyler Spitz crossed the whitewash for their second five-pointer.

The boot of Rosslee did the rest to make it 0-14 but the crowd at RFUEA was up on its feet in the 21st when George Nyambua, who was captaining the side for the first time led by example, went over for Simbas first try.

Andola split the posts as Kenya halved the deficit to 7-14 before an attempted drop goal from the same player sailed wide.

Simbas vice-captain, Patrice Agunda was then sent to the sin bin in the 36th but the 14 men hit back barely two minutes later when Alex Olaba capped his brilliant run by notching Kenya's second try.

Andola missed the conversion for 12-14 when the ball sailed wide as the hosts went in for the break trailing The Dragons.

Shortly after the sides switched sides Paarwater brought on Samson Onsomu for Lyle Ailigwa but it was Hong Kong, who were out to atone for their defeat at the same venue last year, who extended their advantage.

Liam Slaten went over but the conversion was missed as the scoreboard read 19-14 in favour of the visitors.

Muhanji then scored Simbas third try and Andola converted to level the scores when he sent the ball flying through the posts.

Agunda was then replaced by the Benjamin Marshall who marked his first run out for the Simbas before Kenya spurned the final chance of the match when a knock on denied the hosts a final flourish in a match they failed to get the better of the Dragons.