Kenya chases automatic 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-17 19:30:08|Editor: mym
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NAIROBI, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's 15s rugby team coach Ian Snook is just one win away from securing the country's first World Cup appearance when they play Namibia in Windhoek on Saturday.

Both teams have amassed four wins in the six-team competition and face off in a must-win clash to see who will qualify directly for the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

Uganda, Zimbabwe, Morocco and Tunisia are the other sides in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup campaign.

Snook believes his team is peaking at the right moment after they beat Tunisia 67-0 in their penultimate match last weekend in Nairobi. "It was a pleasantly good performance and very many things worked well for us and obviously there were a few which didn't but we will work on them," Snook said on Friday.

Kenya has lost to Namibia on all the three occasions the two sides have locked horns. Their last loss was a year ago when Kenya went down 45-7. However Snook is relishing the prospect of turning the tide.

A win will secure Kenya an automatic ticket to the World Cup, while a loss or a draw will see their hosts claim the bragging rights to join South Africa as the automatic qualifiers from Africa for the World Cup in Japan.

The second placed team will get another shot at qualifying through the repechage tournament in Marseille, France in November.

"I believe it is mission possible," said Kenya's captain Davis Chenge. "It is the biggest test so far this season, which we must face to prove our mettle. We have been pushed to the limit by Uganda, Morocco and Zimbabwe. Now the work is cut out heading to Namibia."

Snook has asked his team to believe in their ability and to go out and enjoy their game. "Our plan all through [this tournament] has been to qualify directly and that remains the plan we have. We need to work harder especially on our defense and we will be okay. I trust these boys and I trust their hard work," added the coach.

Chenge believes their past experience with Namibia will only help them. "We know Namibia, we have watched their games this season and we have also played against them. We will see how to exploit their weaknesses. We are out for a win," he added.