Tuli Lima Tunisia
On Sunday, the Simbas had one task at hand, to Lima Tunisia and Lima Tunisia, they did! With 1A status and hopes for the African title on the line, Kenya got over a shaky start to romp Tunisia 46-15 in a high octane match, at the RFUEA.
The visitors were the brighter of the two sides in the opening exchanges, asking all the questions of the Kenyan defence, looking to impose their physicality early on. Khaleefa Edin who had a master class from the boot put his side 6-0 ahead inside the first 10 minutes, through a drop goal and a penalty.
Man of the match Darwin Mukidza would get his first of 26 points minutes later, darting over the line and converting for a 7-6 score. The Simbas were settling into their stride, with Tunisia now beginning to fade off as we entered the second period of the first half.
It was a match that had its fair share of brawls with the Tunisians perhaps looking to disrupt the frantic pace the game was now being played at. Khaleefa would hand his side the lead from a penalty to make it 9-7.
A well weighted pass from fly half Isaac Adimo released Jacob Ojee at the far wing, the winger stepping inside his defender to release the flying Sammy Oliech to dive over. Mukidza making no mistake from the conversion 40 meters out to make it 14-9.
Khaleefa would sink in his third penalty at the stroke of half time to make a two point game at the breather, 14-12. It was all to play for in the second half though Tunisia’s discipline should have been a cause of concern.
The Simbas had found their footing and now needed to take it up another notch, they would however need to be weary of Khaleefa who had single-handedly (or should I say footedly) put Tunisia in this match.
Second half kicked off on a similar footing with the first, Tunisia dominating possession but this time round, they couldn’t get any points on the board. Mukidza would take his personal tally to 12 points from a penalty.
Soon after it was 17, after a moment of magic from the winger, dancing past two defenders, rolling his way past the next defender after not being held in the tackle, to land his brace as he shrugged of the oncoming defender, 22-12.
Tunisia were now rocked and struggled to keep up with the pace of the game, Khaleefa putting up the only points for the side to make it 22-15. From this point the visitors were simply blown away.
Oliver Mang’eni would show off his fancy footwork to release Mike Okombe who in turn offloaded to the oncoming Sammy Oliech to touch down, Mukidza converting for a 29-15 score line. Mukidza would take the scores into the 30s from a penalty, to make it 32-15.
Robert Aringo, who had come in for the injured Lyle Asiligwa in the first half, would benefit from great phase play from the forwards to dive over, Mukidza was on hand to add the extras, 39-15. At this point only the hooter could stop the Simbas.
It went from bad to worse as Tunisia were reduced to 14 men, with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Veteran Vincent Mose was on hand to blissfully place the cherry on the cake, slipping past two defenders with the one finger salute in the air to touch down, Mukidza bringing the proceedings to a close with the conversion for a 46-15 final score.
There was no denying the fleet footed Mukidza man of the match, he rarely put a foot wrong, 2 tries and a kicking in 7 out of 8 attempts. This was Darwin the magician at his finest, he broke the line with almost every touch, was reliable on the boot and his link up play was exceptional.
The side was once again playing to its strengths, credit to the forwards who once again stood up against a much heavier set of forwards. Oliver Mangeni was a constant thorn in the Tunisia line outs, though the visitors gave as a real battle at the break down we put in a great display here.
Our back line was the pick of the lot, specifically our back three, executing our free flowing rugby game plan exceptionally. With the game plan employed our centers saw little of the ball but did well in defence,
Isaac Adimo and Robert Aringo did a great job in managing the game plan. Aringo was defensively resolute, doing a great job on the Tunisia number 8 at the scrum.
We did well to withstand the early storm from the Tunisians, at some point it looked like we were going to be in for a long day at the RFUEA. The visitors clearly came out to rake in as many points as possible in the opening minutes, then hold on for the win, given the altitude conditions.
Up next for the Simbas is Spain on the 18th of July at the RFUEA, this should be our sternest test yet with the Spanish ranked 20th. After that we’ll face Namibia on August 8th in Windhoek in the final Division 1A fixture.
It has been a brilliant display from the boys in the last two home matches, we are becoming a real force at our backyard. The upcoming fixtures however come with a whole different set of challenges that we must be prepared well for.