Kenya Simbas maul South Africa's Leopards in Nairobi

Dan Sikuta

Kenya Simbas' Dan Sikuta evades a tackle during their Currie Cup First Division match against North West Leopards of South Africa at RFUEA ground on June 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Simbas, who had only won one match in the Currie Cup First Division fixtures prior to Saturday's match, were in a class of their own in Nairobi.

Kenya Simbas put up good defence and attack, scoring seven tries to stun defending champions North West Leopards from South Africa in a thrilling Currie Cup First Division duel at the RFUEA on Saturday.

It was a pulsating tie as Simbas, who led 25-14 at the break, celebrated their second win of the championship that was being played for the first time in Nairobi and outside Southern Africa.

Kenya Simbas

Kenya Simbas fans follow proceedings during the Currie Cup First Division match between Kenya and South Africa's North West Leopards at RFUEA ground on June 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

Kenya scored seven tries, made five conversions and two penalties against the visitors' five converted tries.

Fullback Darwin Mukidza, right wing Derrick Ashiundu, fly-half Dominic Coulson, outside centre Vincent Onyala, inside centre Bildad Ogeta and substitute forwards Eugene Sifuna and Thomas Okeyo touched down the Simbas tries.

Mukidza curled over four conversations and two penalties as substitute kicker Andrew Mutoka managed one conversion for the Simbas.

Substitute prop Sampie Swinger scored a brace of tries as right wing Poienaar van Niekerk, fly-half Martin Venter and substitute winger Keenan Twigg managed a try each for the tourists. Fullback Duren Hoffman made all the extras.

Darwin Mukidza

Kenya Simbas' Darwin Mukidza prepares to make a conversion during their Currie Cup First Division match against North West Leopards of South Africa at RFUEA ground on June 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

"Beating the defending champions in front of our fans is massive...this is a massive win for the boys," said an elated Kenya Simbas coach Paul Odera.

"This is our build up to the World Cup qualifiers and the team had to start winning," explained Odera, who attributed the victory to good defence, attack and lineout play.

"Sometimes we are hard on ourselves yet we have good athletes. It was incredible to see my forwards Sifuna and Okeyo outsprint the backs to score."

Kenya Simbas

A Kenya Simbas fan reacts during the Currie Cup First Division match between Kenya and South Africa's North West Leopards at RFUEA ground on June 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

However, Odera said they must improve on their kick off reception and tackling.

Leopards coach Andre Pretorius said the Simbas tackled and defended well.

"The Simbas need to improve on their scrummages. They were weak in that department. We scored our last two tries from rolling mauls," said Pretorius.

The Simbas will play their last Currie Cup match against the Elephants from South Africa on Saturday.

They will then turn their focus on the Rugby Africa qualifiers for the 2023 Rugby World Cup programmed from July 1 to 10 in France.

Kenya Simbas

Kenya Simbas' Thomas Okeyo (right) charges past Leopards Martin Venter during their Currie Cup First Division match at RFUEA ground on June 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

The Simbas were the first to roar when they put the Leoaprds under pressure to get two penalties from ruck infringement.

Mukidza curled through to give Kenya a 6-0 lead.

Leopards would then get a penalty but Hoffman failed to score.

However, Leopards went loose with good running display before van Niekerk landed. Hoffman added the extras for the visitors to lead 7-6.

The Simbas would claw back again with good display from the forwards before Mukidza sliced through some tackles to land. The KCB player added the extras as the Simbas reclaimed the lead 13-7.

Leopards fumbled in clearance for a knock-on that the Simbas build on to see Ashiundu breaking at the middle to score.

Mukidza converted to stretch the lead to 20-7 before another good offload from the Leopards resulted to Venter's try. Hoffman converted but the visitors trailed  20-14.

A well-worked try from Mukidza and Davis Chenge created the leeway from Coulson's try. Mukidza missed the conversation but Kenya led 25-14 at the break.

Onyala would break Leopards defence to score as Swigger struck back for the visitors. Kenya led 32-21.

Thomas Okeyo

 Kenya Simbas forward Thomas Okeyo (right) celebrates his try with his teammates during their Currie Cup First Division match against South Africa's North West Leopards at RFUEA ground on June 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

Ogeta then completed a swanky move from the right with a far left side try only for Twigg to intercept a pass to score.

Kenya still stayed ahead 37-28.

Sifuna and Okeyo would outsprint their markers to score. Swigger's late try would not deny Kenya the win.

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