Kenya Simbas fall to Hong Kong in final World Cup qualifier

Kenya Simbas

Namibia's flanker Wian Conradie (left) scores the opening try during the Rugby Africa Cup rugby union final match against Kenya at the Maurice David Stadium in Aix-en-Provence, southeastern France, on July 10, 2022.

Photo credit: Christophe Simon | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The winner of the duel between Portugal and USA will join Pool “C” of the 2023 RWC in France that already has Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

Kenya Simbas blew an 11-point lead to lose 22-18 to Hong Kong in their final  2023 Rugby World Cup qualifying match in Dubai on Friday.

The Simbas were on course to a historic win at the tournament popularly known as the Repechage after they led 18-7 at half time before they allowed Hong Kong to win.

Kenya finished their campaign without a win and at the bottom of the four-team competition table, having lost to the United States of America Eagles 68-14 and Portugal Wolves 85-0.

The Eagles and Wolves were to take on each other for a place in the RWC final due for France next year.

The Simbas touched down two tries, a conversion and two penalties against Hong Kong’s three tries, two conversions and a penalty.

“We are disappointed that we didn’t grab our maiden victory at the Repechage but it’s a game of rugby,” said the Simbas captain Malcom Onsando, who hailed his charges for their resilience.

“I am proud of the boys just seeing how the development of this young side has turned out. I am particularly happy for their resilience, having faced trying moments,” said Onsando. “I want to thank Kenyans for their support.”

Centre John Okoth gave the Simbas the lead from a try but Gregory McNeish converted Luke Van Der Smith’s try for Hong Kong to lead 7-5.

Then winger Jacob Ojee landed as fly-half Geoffrey Ominde converted before curling over two penalties for Simbas' 18-7 lead at the break.

Hong Kong would turn around the game when McNeigh slotted a penalty before converting Sean Taylor’s try to reduce the deficit at 18-17.

It was thereafter that Jak Lam landed the try that ruined the party of Paul Odera’s charges who had early in the week boycotted training protesting unpaid allowances.

The winner of the duel between Portugal and USA will join Pool “C” of the 2023 RWC in France that already has Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

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