Dominant Hong Kong share spoils with Kenya

By francis marangu
Aug 21, 2017
  • Kenya and Hong Kong drew the first Test match 19-19. They meet again on Saturday at the RFUEA ground. (SNA. File Photo)

Good set-piece plays helped visiting Hong Kong earn a deserving 19-19 draw against Kenya Simbas in the first of a two-match test series played Sunday at the RFUEA ground.

The visitors pushed the Kenyans at the scrum and were nearly-perfect at the lineout.

After the match, Kenya Simbas technical bench admitted the poor showi by the forwards.

Dominique Habimana, the assistant forwards coach said; “The forwards need an extra work to do and get on the front foot whenever a scrum is called.”

Within 10 minutes of the match, the visitors were 14-0 up. In the first minute, Hong Kong had a wasted scoring opportunity.

Tyler Spitz broke from the halfline with a clear individual run but was stopped by Vincent Mose after going into contact even with space to attack at the Kenyan backline.

Biko Adema was injured in the third minute and replaced by Kenny Andola in an early forced substitution for Kenya.

Jack Parfitt grabbed the first try of the match in the fifth minute from a third consecutive lineout they had won within the short period.

They mauled but could not score immediately after holding onto the ball for too long. Eventually, they had the try and Liam Slatem converted for a 7-0 lead.

The second try came in the 10th minute after a good phase-play with Spitz touching down and Slatem converting to extend the lead 14-0.

Captain led from the front

Good scrummaging came to the reward of Kenya in the 18th minute when George Nyambua, the captain led from the front and touched down between the posts. Andola converted to narrow the gap 14-7.

In the 28th minute, a knock-on at the try-line by Slatem denied Hong Kong a clear try. He had made the break on the right wing but a hard tackle by Edwin Machanje saw him spill the bapp as he prepared to ground.

Andola then attempted a desperate drop goal that went wide.

Moments later, Patrice Agunda was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle with Robbie Keith missing the resulting penalty for Hong Kong.

Before the halftime break, Alex Olaba reduced the deficit for Kenya to two points with an unconverted try at the left corner. He received an offload before beating a tackle from the opposition to touch down.

Upon resumption, Oliver Mang’eni awakened the fans with a daring run from the halfline. He interchanged passes with Machanje but the last delivery was penalized for a forward pass even as Kenya seemed headed for their third try.

In the 49th minute, Hong Kong broke away after scoring through Slatem for a 19-12 lead. He quickly collected a turnover ball and sprinted away to touch down. Not even a chasing Mose could stop him at the corner.

Andola kicked wide a penalty attempt that could have narrowed the gap.

Kenya exerted pressure

In the 57th minute, Kenya exerted pressure on the opponents with repeated mauling at their line. Andola collected the ball from the ruck but his weak pass to Mose was intercepted by Matt Rosslee.

He made a run but pressure from the chasing Kenyan duo was too much for him leading to a knock-on at the halfline and a scrum to Kenya.

At the hour mark, Kenya managed to tie the scores with a try from Dennis Muhanji and converted by Andola.

In the closing minutes, substitute Ronnie Mwenesi made his own beak but was let down by lack of support play.

“They punished us from our own mistakes,” Nyambua who captained the Kenyan team said after the match.

Habimana regretted missing out on the win. “We would have wanted to score the extra points and win but we ended up with a draw. We need more composure and we will be good in the next match.”

Jamie Tsang, the Hong Kong captain said; “We are frustrated that we did not win. We left many points out there that could have counted through simple errors.”

Both teams will play the second test match on Saturday at the same venue.

Line ups

Kenya Simbas: 15. Vincent Mose, 14. Dennis Muhanji, 13. Patrice Agunda, 12. Brad Owako, 11. Alex Olaba, 10. Biko Adema, 9.Lyle Asiligwa, 1. James Kubasu, 2. Philip Ikambili, 3. Dennis Karani, 4. Emmanuel Mavala, 5. Oliver Mang’eni, 6. Elkeans Musonye, 7. George Nyambua (captain), 8. Edwin Machanje; Replacements: 16. Peter Karia, 17. Oscar Simiyu, 18. Bram Mayaka, 19. Ronnie Mwenesi, 20. Steve Otieno, 21. Sam Onsomu, 22. Kenny Andola, 23. Benjamin Marshall.

Hong Kong: 1 Ben Higgins (Valley), 2. Jamie Tsang (Kowloon), 3. Jack Parfitt (Hong Kong Scottish), 4. James Cunningham (Kowloon), 5. Kyle Sullivan (HKS), 6. Nick Hewson (Valley), 7. Matt Lamming (HKCC), 8. Thomas Lamboley (Valley), 9. Liam Slatem (HKCC), 10. Matt Rosslee (Valley), 11. Sam Purvis (HKFC), 12. Lex Kaleca (HKS), 13. Tyler Spitz (USRC Tigers), 14. Marcus Ramage (HKS), 15. Liam Gallaher (Tigers); Replacements: 16. Dan Barlow (Tigers), 17. Danye Jans (Valley), 18. Alex NG Wai-shing (Valley), 19. Finn Field (Edinburgh University), 20. Pierce Mackinlay-West (HKFC), 21. Liam Owens (Valley), 22. James Christie (Northumbria University) 23. Robbie Keith (Tigers).