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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya rugby fifteens coach eyes Namibia Gold Cup title       

By Kimathi Kamau NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya rugby 15s head coach Jerome Paarwater is optimistic that his side can lift the 2017 Rugby Gold Cup on Aug. 5 by beating favourites and title holders, Namibia in Windhoek.

The South African led his team popularly known as Simbas (Lions) to a well-earned but unspectacular 42-21 victory over Zimbabwe’s Sables in Bulawayo to keep their hopes of being crowned continental champions for the first time since 2013 alive.

Namibia remain top of the Gold Cup group on 20 points, two ahead of the Kenyans after coming through unscathed in Kampala when they ran out 48-24 winners to set a winner takes all clash on Aug. 5 in Windhoek on the final day of the 2017 top continental 15s showdown.

But the Simbas are quietly confident of spoiling the part since after opening their campaign on Jun. 24 with a morale-sapping 33-33 draw against Uganda; they have stormed to victories against Tunisia (100-10/July 8) and Senegal 45-25 (July 15) at the RFUEA grounds in Nairobi before the away victory over the Sables on Saturday.

“The game was about patience and the guys stuck to their guns. We didn’ t play much rugby in our 22, they forced the play and we struggled to keep them in their half but we hit them when it matter most.

“Today was not about playing extensive and funny rugby, it was just to play winning rugby that is sometimes ugly but it was a good game,” the pleased South African Simbas boss Paarwater told Kenya Rugby Union media after the game.

“There were many positives, the one negative is I was not happy with the one on one tackles but I can take the result at the moment,” Paarwater added.

Back row Justin Newman, who was one of the try scorers for the table toppers, said Namibia needed to win the match to avoid unnecessary pressure in the Gold Cup title decider next weekend.

“We play Kenya next which is one of the top sides in the continent. Victory today (Saturday) sets up good atmosphere before the final,” Newman said ahead of the winner-takes-it-all meeting with the Simbas.

The Cranes notched three tries, three conversions and a penalty as Namibia got seven five-pointers, a penalty and five conversions to round their fifth straight victory on the bounce.

Winners of the 2018 Gold Cup will qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in England.

           

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