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Kenya team eyes bonus point in battle against
Namibia to qualify for rugby 15s World Cup

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The curtains will fall on the Rugby Africa Gold Cup competition on Saturday with Kenya locking horns with champions Namibia away in Windhoek.

Kenya 15s Team manager Wangila Simiyu says Kenya faces a litmus test to turn around their past poor showing against their host if they are to secure automatic qualification to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Kenya has not lost a match in their last five encounters and so is Namibia. However, Namibia has secured its win with bonus point and leads the group with 20 points while Kenya has 17 having only had one bonus point against Tunisia.

The winner of the Gold Cup clash will secure automatic tickets to Japan next year while the runner’s up will have to play in the World Rugby Repechage competition in Marseille in Nov against Chinese Hong Kong, Canada and Germany for the final slot to Japan.

“Kenya must beat Namibia with a high score to secure automatic qualification. It is a hard task if you look at previous three encounters, Kenya has had with Namibia losing all. But there will be no advantage over records and the game will be open to either side,” Simiyu said on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kenya has failed to beat the African champions in Windhoek in the past three encounters, losing 46-12 in 2015, 56-21 (2016) and 45-7 last year.

But the technical bench of the Kenya team is buoyant over their prospects and believes past record will not hold back Kenyans from crushing their host and clinching the ticket to Japan.

Head coach Ian Snook has promised to work on the technical errors his team made in their clash against Tunisia and believes they will be in their optimal form when they face off on Saturday.

“I have watched videos of past clash and it is down to just poor defense. We gave away four very soft tries last year and this is something we are rectifying and hopefully, we will not see a repeat,” said the coach.

“We had too many ball handling errors which prevented us from scoring more tries and this is one area of play we have to improve on because, if we don’t, Namibia will exploit that weakness,” he added.

The Kenya team will have no rest and will depart Wednesday for Windhoek.

Coach Snook has recalled Nick Barasa to the squad after shaking off knee and ankle injuries that had limited his participation in the campaign.

“He brings on board experience and speed. He has been a key player for us but he must fight his way into the starting 15 and hopefully he will impress,” said the coach.


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