Team Kenya for the Vodacom cup were called Tusker Simba. They were placed in the Southern section and based in Cape Town. The team was sponsored to the tune of Ksh 75 million by East Africa Breweries. In the end, Kenya finished with a one win and 6 losses.
The performance was better than Namibia who did not win any games when they last played in the Vodacom cup in 2011. It was a creditable performance and good experience. The Vodacom cup is the 3rd most prestigious tounrnament in South Africa and features past and potential Springbok players.
Match reports courtesy of sport24.co.za
Round 1 Kenya 17 Eastern Province 10
March 8 at City Park Stadium in Crawford
TUSKER Simba XV made a dream start in the provincial Vodacom Cup debut in South Africa beating Eastern Province Kings 17-10 at City Park in Cape Town.
Early in the game the score was 5-5, the young Homeboyz winger Leonard Mugaisi, making his debut in representative rugby, scoring the Tusker Simba try. Then the EP Kings made strong presence by camping near the Kenyans’ try line but their defence holding out; just.
The Kenyan boys gained confidence, pushing back the Kings as the game progressed and it became an unexpected 5-5 score at the half time break. And even that was despite one of the Kenyan players having to spend some suspension time. Rookie Joshua Chisanga was yellow carded from not releasing after a tackle.
Second Mugaisi try
The Kenyans were in full cry and confidence after the opening of the second half, Mugaisi crossing the line for his second try that was converted for 12-5 before Max Adaka went down to make 17-5. They were then in complete control until being destablised by inexperience that saw yellow card suspension for Edwin Achayo and then Adaka.
Defensive readjustment was necessary with the suspension but the Kenyans coped well only conceding a late try to the EP Kings.
The good news was received with hearty celebrations in Kenya, with the leading twitter account of rugby followers in the country @KenyaRugby247 sending a congratulatory message to the Tusker Simba opponents saying: “EP Kings, well played guys”.
The official EP Kings handle @EPKings promptly replied sating: “Well done to you too…very competititve and great wat to start your debut.
It was great satisfaction for the Kenya coach Jerome Paarwater [a native of Western Province] who had earlier expressed optimism that his boys would do well when he announced the starting XV and the eight replacement players on Friday.
The Kenya selection was virtually a Kenya Harlequins line-up as Quins provide 10 men in the squad while Kenya’s best club, Nakuru RFC, was represented by a single player, flanker Michael Okombe.
Round 2: SWD Eagles 51 Kenya 7
March 15 at City Park Stadium in Crawford
Cape Town The SWD Eagles secured their first win of the season when they thrashed the Tusker Simba XV 51-7 (25-0 halftime) in a one-sided Vodacom Cup clash in Cape Town.
The men from George outscored the host team by nine tries to one and secured the bonus point in the first half after some excellent interplay between their backs and forwards.
Playing with the wind behind their backs in the first half, the Eagles, who are known for their running rugby, showed their intent and used their speedy backs to keep the Kenyan-side pinned in their half of the field.
SWD-winger Hentzwill Pedro almost scored his team’s first try after a good run down the sideline but was tackled short of the try line by some desperate defence. Seconds later outside centre Daniel Roberts jogged over the try line for his team’s first try.
After a while the Tusker Simba-side started to find their feet in the match and launched wave after wave of attack on the SWD try line but to no avail.
They kept the pressure on the visitors and won a penalty right in front of the posts but scrumhalf Layle Asiligwa could not convert for three points.
Even with 14 players on the field after SWD flyhalf Karlo Aspeling was sent off for continuously being offside, the visitors managed to defend their try line to keep the physical Kenyans at bay. The Eagles also managed to score points when they were a man down.
In the second half the Eagles carried on where they left off in the first half and continued to dominate the match.
Playing into the wind, the visitors kept the ball in hand and ran the Kenyans off their feet.
They scored a further four tries to lead the Kenyans 51-0. With seconds to play the hosts managed to score a converted consolation try through lock Wilson Kapondo.
Tusker Simba XV: Try: Wilson Kopondo. Conversion: Kenny Andula.
SWD Eagles: Tries: Daniel Roberts (2), Hentzwill Pedro (2), Shaun Raubenheimer, Duwayne Smart, Janneman Stander, Christo du Plessis, Martin du Toit. Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (3).
Round 3 Border 18 Kenya 17
March 22 at Buffalo City Stadium in East London
East London – On a hot, sultry afternoon the Border Bulldogs beat the Tusker Simba XV from Kenya 18-17 in a nail-biting Vodacom Cup match played in front of a small yet enthusiastic crowd of supporters at the Buffalo City stadium, East London.
Border vice-captain Jeffrey Taljard was the hero for the home team, scoring 13 of the 18 points, although he did miss three kicks at goal which failed to go over – a conversion and two penalties.
The halftime score was 7-7.
The huge Kenyan eight gave the smaller Border pack a torrid throughout, and referee Stephan Geldenhuys, who handled the game with authority, had to give the Kenyan front row a lecture or two.
But the game was played fast and furiously on a day with exceptionally hot Berg wind conditions.
The visitors were first to score in the fourth minute when their strong centre, Fabian Orlando, broke within his own quarter quite against the run of play and ran 75 metres to score alongside the post for flyhalf Kenny Andula to add the two points.
Border squandered a number of chances and once their nippy scrumhalf, Mario Noordman, who had an excellent attacking game, broke and with the line at his mercy, threw out a forward pass, amid a huge groan from the home team supporters.
Then centres Ruan Jacobs and Taljard combined to take play to about three metres from the Kenyan’s line and from the resultant melee, Noordman threw out a pass to Taljard who darted through to dot down and then convert his own try.
The visitors started the second half well. Their tough right wing, Leonard Mugaisi, who was keen to run at every opportunity, simply put his head down and despite a couple of tackles, scored to the right of the posts for Andula to convert and make the score 14-7 in favour of the Simba XV.
Then the Kenyans were penalised for holding on and Taljard made no mistake with the penalty from about 25 metres out virtually in front of the posts, but five minutes later Andula was on target with his first penalty.
Taljard replied with another penalty shortly afterward and at 13-17 and with just over 20 minutes left on the clock, an exciting finish loomed, with Border looking to be the stronger side in the heat.
And so it proved. Left wing Makazole Mapimpi took a pass from Taljard and dived over for a brilliant try after Noordman threw the ball wide to the right, but Taljard missed a difficult conversion.
With 15 minutes to go, the Kenyans, now one point adrift, threw everything into attack but the Border defence held firm, and when the ball squirted out to touch after 41 minutes, there was a huge yell from an excited crowd who enjoyed one of the few Border victories in recent seasons.
Border Bulldogs: Tries: Centre Jeffrey Taljard, wing Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Taljard. Penalties: Taljard (2).
Tusker Simba XV: Centre Fabian Olando, right wing Leonard Mugaisi. Conversions: Kenny Andula (2): Penalty: Andula.
Round 4 : Boland 24, Kenya 19
March 24 at City Park Stadium in Crawford
Johannesburg – The Boland Cavaliers outscored the Tusker Simba XV four tries to three to record a 24-19 (half-time 17-5) victory in the Vodacom cup match played at City Park, Cape Town on Saturday.
The hosts were looking to bounce back after suffering two losses in a row while the Cavaliers were still searching for their maiden win of the season.
Eightman Martin Omondi scored for the Kenyans within the first five minutes but his flyhalf Eden Kochieng could not add the extras.
Omondi ‘s opposite number Conway Pretorius, drew the two teams level by scoring a try barely five minutes later. Fullback Eric Zana missed his conversion attempt and the teams remained evenly matched.
This was to be the start of a blitz by the Cavaliers as Conway completed his hat trick by scoring twice more with Zana adding one conversion in less than fifteen minutes.
Things only got worse for the Kenyans as prop Moses Amusala was shown a yellow card after 30 minutes of play.
Luckily for the hosts they did not concede any points in the ensuing period and the halftime score was 17-5 in favour of the visitors.
Kenya must have had a stern talking to during the break as they came out firing with winger Dennis Osinde scoring just three minutes into the half.
Replacement back Darwin Mukidza converted and suddenly the Kenyans were within striking distance again.
Flank Davis Chenge scored to make it 17-17 and Mukidza gave the Simba XV the lead for the first time since the tenth minute with his conversion.
Going into the final quarter Boland were trailing 19-17 and four replacements were sent on with the aim of securing the victory.
The game was evenly balanced and looking for someone to be a hero and Zana happily obliged for the Cavaliers.
He scored and converted his own try to give the Boland the lead and eventually the vital win.
Both teams will need to improve significantly as they face seriously difficult opponents in their coming matches. Boland host the Sharks in Ceres while the Simba XV face WP at Newlands next weekend, which means preparations in the coming week will be vital.
Boland Cavaliers: Tries: Conway Pretorius (3), Eric Zana. Conversions: Zana (2)
Simba XV: Tries: Martin Omondi , Dennis Osinde, Davis Chenge. Conversions: Darwin Mukidza (2)
Round 5: Western Province 65 Kenya 29
April 5 at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town
Johannesburg – Wing Devon Williams scored four tries before half-time as Western Province outclassed the Tusker Simba XV 65-29 at Newlands, in Cape Town on Saturday.
Captain Rohan Kitshoff went over barely after the match had started and the hosts had a 5-0 lead after flyhalf Gary van Aswegen missed the conversion.
Flyhalf Kenny Andola responded for the Kenyans as he kicked a penalty to get his side on the board.
Williams scored his first try of the afternoon and a pattern started to emerge as Van Aswegen missed another kick at goal.
The hosts were under a slight bit of pressure as first centre Fabian Ogutu and then fullback Tony Opondo scored to grab the lead at 13-10.
Andola converted the second try to give Simba XV a handy 15-10 lead before Province clicked into gear.
Johnny Kotze, playing in the number 13 jumper, went wide to outpace the would-be defender and draw the teams’ level. Van Aswegen missed his third kick and it was left to Williams to seize the initiative.
The speedster scored three tries in a blitz of seven minutes to take the home team out to a 30-15 lead.
Van Asgewen finally managed to convert a try and the score was 32-15 after 36 minutes of play.
Opondo scored his second try after running onto a superb delayed pass by Ogutu and left his opposite number Tiger Bax for dead after he swerved past him without being touched.
Andola duly converted and the Simba XV had narrowed the gap and only trailed 32-22 going into the final moments of the half.
The Kenyan scrum was penalised just before the break and eighthman Carel du Preez seized an opportunity. He took a quick tap and went for the try-line, going over for try number seven of the match.
Van Aswegen continued with his poor afternoon as he missed the simple conversion and the half-time score was 37-22 to the home side.
Du Preez scored next with a dart over in the corner.
Kurt Coleman was successful with his first conversion of the afternoon after entering the fray at flyhalf.
Eighthman Joshua Chisanga scored a fourth try for his side after the Province defenders were unable to bring down the big man.
The conversion by Andola made it 44-29 and this was the last time the Kenyans troubled the scorers.
Prop Christo “Tiny” van Wyk dotted down after sniping from a ruck before Kitshoff scored twice more to complete his hat-trick of tries. Replacement Martin Omondi was sent to the sin-bin after an indiscretion and Province looked to capitalise on the numerical advantage.
Coleman converted all three of these tries to stake a strong claim for the starting berth next week.
Western Province: Tries: Rohan Kitshoff (3), Devon Williams (4), Johnny Kotze, Carel du Preez (2), Christo van Wyk; Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (2), Kurt Coleman (3).
Tusker Simba XV: Tries: Fabian Ogutu, Tony Opondo (2), Joshua Chisanga; Conversions: Kenny Andola (3) ; Penalty: Andola
Round 6 Sharks 40 Kenya 3
April 12 at City Park Stadium in Crawford
Tim Swiel and the Cell C Sharks XV were not in a forgiving mood as they hammered the Tusker Simba XV 40-3 (halftime 12-0) at City Park, Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
According to the supersport.com website, the log-leading Cell C Sharks XV have been in superb form going into the match while the Tusker Simba XV have not recorded a victory since the opening round of the competition.
It was the metronomic boot of Swiel which saw the visiting team lead 12-0 at halftime, courtesy of four penalties within the first quarter.
The Sharks were disrupted by two separate blood bin substitutions as both eightman Johan Meyer and hooker Franco Marais had to get some medical attention for their wounds.
When prop Joseph Kangethe was yellow-carded after the break the Sharks XV finally started to capitalise and score tries.
Centre Neil Maritz and replacement prop Thomas du Toit both went over while Kangethe was in the bin. Swiel converted both tries and the visitors had a substantial lead at 26-0.
Meyer had clearly shaken off any ill effects of his knock in the first-half and scored the third try shortly thereafter. Swiel had been in superb form with his goal kicking and added the conversion to take his personal tally to 18 points.
Flyhalf Kenny Andola finally got the Simba XV on the board with a penalty virtually from the restart but this was to be the solitary act of scoring from the Kenyans.
The Sharks XV bench had made a big impact and replacement centre Andre Esterhuizen sealed the win with his try and conversion.
The Sharks XV face the EP Kings next and essentially only need a single log point to seal the top spot on the log of South Section. The Simba XV will travel to Bloemfontein and will look to end their season on a high note as they have no chance of progressing further in the competition.
Cell C Sharks XV – 40: Tries: Neil Maritz, Thomas du Toit, Johan Meyer, Andre Esterhuizen; Conversions: Tim Swiel (3), Esterhuizen. Penalties: Swiel (4)
Tusker Simba XV – 3: Penalty: Kenny Andola
Round 7 : Cheetahs 77 Kenya 10
April 26 at Free state stadium in Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein – The Free State XV will host a quarter-final next weekend after finishing second in the South Section of the Vodacom Cup.
They thumped the newcomers to the competition, the Tusker Simba XV, 77-10 on Saturday to earn a home quarter-final for the first time since 2008.
The host scored 13 tries in all and would be happy with the fact that the only conceded one.
With Western Province losing on Friday against the odds to the Eagles, the Free State team only had to win by 12 points or with a bonus point to secure the second place in the South Section and with that a home quarter-final.
Having scored the bonus point in the 13th minute they only had to secure the win from there.
The half-time score was 41-3.
The Cheetahs, who have stuck with the same players throughout the competition, failed to reach the final 8 stage the previous two years.
The Simbas was always on the back foot with the home side dominant in the scrums. When the Cheetahs, who only had one player with Super Rugby experience in their team, got their rolling mall going they were almost unstoppable. Flank Zingisa April scored three times from a dominant driving mall.
It was disappointing to see the Kenyan team deciding to kick for goal when they already trailed 22-0 and again when 27-3 behind.
For the Kenyans this is the end of the road in their first season of Vodacom Cup rugby after replacing the Pampas from Argentina. They Africans only managed one win over the EP Kings.
Free State XV
Tries: Zingisa April (4), Tienie Burger, Maphuta Dolo, Joubert Engelbrecht, Peet Coetzee (2), Nico Lee (2), Renier Botha, Henco Greyling
Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (5), Sino Ganto.
Tusker Simba XV
Try: Moses Amusala
Conversion: Eden Kochieng
Penalty: Kenny Abdola
Final Group Standings
Tusker Simba Squad
Forwards: Max Adaka , Moses Amusala, Davis Chenge, Joshua Chisanga, James Kang’ethe Joseph Kang’ethe, Wilson Kopondo, Curtis Lilako, Oliver Mang’eni, Emmanuel Mavala, Tony Mutai, Duncan Mwangi, Ronnie Mwenesi, Brian Nyikuli, Mike Okombe, Edward Oseko , Martin Owila, Sam Warui, Philip Kwame, Edwin Makori, David Mogere, Steve Wakaya
Backs : Edwin Achayo, Isaac Adimo Eden Agero, Kenny Andola, Robert Aringo, Lyle Asiligwa, Nick Barasa, Austine Gumo, Cyprian Kuto, Leonard Mugaisi , Dennis Muhanji, Darwin Mukidza, Fabian Olando, Tony Onyango, Leon Adongo, Augustine Lugonzo, Jacob Ojee , Alvin Otieno
Coach : Jerome Paarwater
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