RWC 2023

Simbas face USA, Portugal and Hong Kong in World Cup repechage

Hong Kong lost 44-22 to Tonga on Saturday to drop to the repechage, slated for November.

In Summary

•Odera, a former Kenya Under 20 tactician, said they need to start preparations soon owing to the mammoth task they face at the repechage.

•USA will be the highest ranked team at the repechage at 17th in the world. They have played in every Rugby World Cup bar in the 1995 edition held in South Africa.

Kenya Simbas' Davis Chenge fending off two Zambian defenders during Rugby World Cup qualifier at Nyayo Stadium.
Kenya Simbas' Davis Chenge fending off two Zambian defenders during Rugby World Cup qualifier at Nyayo Stadium.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Kenya Simbas will play Hong Kong, Portugal and the USA in the repechage for the final slot to the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

Hong Kong lost 44-22 to Tonga on Saturday to drop to the repechage, slated for November. 

Paul Odera's charges lost 36-0 to Namibia in the African qualifiers final in Marseille a fortnight ago and will be playing in the repechage for the second consecutive time. They played in the repechage in 2018 in France, where they lost all their matches.

Odera, a former Kenya Under 20 tactician, said they need to start preparations soon owing to the mammoth task they face at the repechage.

"I hope our training and preparations can start soon. We have a tough task in the final qualifier and we need to train and play a couple of build-up matches before we go for the repechage,” said Odera.

Odera has earmarked four training camps for the month of August and September and warm-up matches in October before departure for the repechage.

Despite the Simbas' low ranking compared to the three other sides, Odera said they will be relishing the challenge.

"We have nothing to fear when playing teams ranked higher than us. We are there on merit and the boys will give their all,” observed Odera

USA will be the highest ranked team at the repechage at 17th in the world. They have played in every Rugby World Cup bar in the 1995 edition held in South Africa.

The US missed out on automatic qualification after losing 52-51 to Chile on aggregate after a two-legged qualifier.

Portugal finished third in Europe behind Georgia and Romania with both teams qualifying for the Rugby extravaganza next year.

The Portuguese, ranked 19th in the world, played once at the World Cup in 2007 where they finished bottom of Group 'C' after losing to New Zealand, Scotland, Italy and Romania.

The Simbas played Portugal in 2015 winning 41-15 in a test match at the RFUEA ground.

Hong Kong, who have never qualified for the World Cup, are ranked 22.

They have played Kenya three times with the Asian outfit winning twice in 2017 and 2018 40-30 and 42-17 respectively and the Simbas winning once in 2016 (34-10) at the RFUEA ground.

Kenya Simbas' Davis Chenge fending off two Zambian defenders during Rugby World Cup qualifier at Nyayo Stadium.
Kenya Simbas' Davis Chenge fending off two Zambian defenders during Rugby World Cup qualifier at Nyayo Stadium.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA
Kenya Simbas' Davis Chenge fending off two Zambian defenders during Rugby World Cup qualifier at Nyayo Stadium.
Kenya Simbas' Davis Chenge fending off two Zambian defenders during Rugby World Cup qualifier at Nyayo Stadium.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA
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