Motari Steers Chipu Back To U-19 Top Tier

Jul 30, 2011

The Kenya under-19 rugby team, Chipu is back to the top tier of the Africa Rugby Confederation after beating Morocco 16-8 today at Prince Edward School, Harare.

It means that next year, Kenya will have a crack at qualifying for the Junior World Rugby Trophy (JWRT) in the competitive Pool A which has Zimbabwe, Namibia and Tunisia. Uganda who have been at the top tier for a year have been relegated after losing all their matches and will be in Pool B with Zambia and Madagascar and Morocco. 

Coach Mitch Ocholla spoke to after the historic win, the first by the junior team against the North Africans. He noted that Morocco were quick off the starting blocks scoring a drop goal and went further ahead by scoring a try in the 10th minute. The momentum was slowed in the 16th minute when Andrew Wekesa was sent to the sin bin because of repeated infringements in the defense. 

Chipu regained their composure and full-back Samuel Motari put over a penalty in the 22nd minute. This incensed the Moroccans whose prop was sent to the sin bin in the 32nd minute after being spotted by the referee punching in the scrum. Morocco led 8-3 at half time. 

With a one-man numerical advantage, Kenya were dominant at the start of the second half. Motari failed to slot two penalties in the 38th and 41st minutes but was successful in the 47th to narrow the gal 8-6 in Morocco’s favor.

The North Africans were reduced to 14 after their hooker was sent off in the 55th minute for stamping on the head of Kenya captain Tony Owuor. But Owuor recovered to continue play and inspire Chipu. Motari slotted a penalty in the 59th minute for the lead to change hands 9-8 in Kenya’s favor, the first time they led. 

They did not relent and Chipu forwards launched an offensive in the 76th minute after a well-worked maul which saw substitute hooker Adrian Munyua ground the ball. Motari converted for the final scores. Ocholla noted that Kenya improved their ball retention especially in the second half. “We did not lose any set pieces. The place kicks and kicking for posts improved greatly and so did the communication. The character of the players was impressive,” the coach observed.

On the low, Kenya conceded many penalties and took time to settle. Ocholla noted that Chipu had returned to the top-notch competition and the aim would be to stay in the first tier. “With proper preparations, Kenya is capable of remaining in the first tier and qualifying for the JWRT,” he added. The team returns home on Sunday.

Kenya team: Andrew Wekesa, Eric Kabinga, Anthony Orege, Ian Lisangani, Emmanuel Mavala, Joshua Chisanga, Francis Muita, Tonny Owuor (captain), Martin Muita, Humphrey Owuor, Njunge Njenga, Billy Odhiambo, Augustine Lugonzo, Vincent Jumba, Samuel Motari, Adrian Munyua, Jacob Owaa, Ian Tagi, Anthony Matei, Haron Nyang’au, Patrick Maina, Joseph Mawira, Daniel Sikuta, Bush Mwale.

Results:Saturday, 23 July 2011Kenya 22 Zambia 13, Namibia 9 Tunisia 8, Madagascar 7 Morocco 6, Zimbabwe 16 Uganda 8Tuesday, 26 July 2011Zimbabwe 34 Tunisia 0, Zambia 20 Morocco 21Wednesday, 27 July 2011Namibia 22 Uganda 12, Kenya 31 Madagascar 14Saturday, 30 July 2011Zimbabwe 29 Namibia 17, Tunisia 23 Uganda 16, Kenya 16 Morocco 8, Madagascar 31 Zambia 22.  


Eric Odanga

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