Odera draws positives from Simbas loss to Zimbabwe

Paul Odera

Kenya Simbas coach Paul Odera at a match against Zambia on August 24, 2019 during Victoria Cup rugby match at RFUEA ground.



Photo credit: File | Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

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He says Simbas, who are using the competition for World Cup qualifiers, finished strong, an indication that “we are getting physically fitter and mentally stronger”

Odera observed that Simbas did not do well in the scrums and lineouts


Coach Paul Odera noted some positives from Kenya Simbas’ 22-21 loss against Zimbabwe Goshawks at the Currie Cup Division 1 in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.

He says Simbas, who are using the competition for World Cup qualifiers, finished strong, an indication that “we are getting physically fitter and mentally stronger”.

Odera told Nation Sport that his boys have improved on discipline. “We gave away less than 10 penalties. This was one of our targets. We also made more line breaks than in our last game (against Valke),” noted Odera.

Odera observed that Simbas did not do well in the scrums and lineouts.

“Our game management was not in this game. We made crucial errors at important moments,” he said. 

In that fixture, Simbas found themselves trailing 0-17 after their guests got points through Biselele Tshamala and Taku Chieza (one try each) and Hilton Mudariki (penalty).

The Kenyans reduced the gap with a penalty from Fijian-born fly-half Jone Kubu and a converted try from Derrick Ashihundu for a 10-17 score at the break.

Kubu added a penalty at the start of the second stanza as Kenya piled pressure for 13-17 but a pushover try restored Zimbabwe’s lead 22-13.

Another well-taken penalty from Kubu from 50 metres on 50 minutes put Kenya within six points reach at 16-22.

A forward pass just outside the try box denied Kenya a try before Odera’s charges cut the gap further with a pushover try from substitute Elkeans Musonye with four minutes left on the clock at the corner for 21-22. Kubu missed the conversion. 

Both teams went into the fixture seeking their first points. Zimbabwe had lost 34-10 against Black Lion on April 2 in Cape Town and again 48-5 against Griffons on April 9, while Simbas succumbed to a 51-14 beating from Valke on April 9 in Brakpan.

Odera had made three changes to the starting lineup that lost against Valke ahead of the Zimbabwe game. The University of Johannesburg pair of prop Andrew Siminyu and lock Thomas Okeyo came in for Ian Njenga (Nondescripts) and Oliver Mang’eni (KCB) respectively.

Njenga is out injured, while Mang’eni has flown back to Nairobi for family reasons.

The third change was Clinton Odhiambo from Menengai Oilers who started at number 8. As a result, Musonye from Impala Saracens dropped to the bench. 

The 2022 Africa Cup slated for July in France will serve as 2023 World Cup qualifiers. Simbas' next assignment at the Currie Cup is against hosts Downtouch Griffons on April 30. 

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