RUGBY

Kenya's World Cup dream not over despite heavy loss to Namibia

Kenya's hope's for a World Cup debut lies solely on the Repechage tournament

Namibia's wing Gerswin Mouton (L) is tackled by Kenya's fly-half Dominic Hamish Coulson (C) during the Rugby Africa Cup rugby union final match between Namibia and Kenya at the Maurice David Stadium in Aix-en-Provence, southeastern France, on July 10, 2022. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite suffering a 36-0 loss to Namibia on Sunday, Kenya men's national 15s side still have a chance to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Simbas will now have to shift their focus to the Final Qualification Tournament, commonly referred to as Repechage. This is a round-robin competition where four teams from across Africa, Asia/Pacific, the Americas and Europe will contest.

Kenyans are guaranteed to face Portugal during Repechage as well as loser between Chile and United States of America and loser between Hong Kong and Tonga. Whoever wins the tournament books a spot in Pool C of the World Cup in France.

Pool C so far features four teams; ninth placed Wales, fifth placed Australia, 11th placed Fiji and 13th placed Georgia. Out of the four, the Aussies are one of only four nations to lift the World Cup, having done so in 1991 and 1999.

The final played at the Maurice David Stadium in Aix-en-Provence, Marseille saw Welwitschias as Namibia is commonly referred to as, continue their dominance over Simbas.

Out of the 14 Tests the two teams have played, Namibia has won 12. Heading into the match, the Welwitschias were in perfect form, having humiliated Burkina Faso 71-5 in the quarter-finals before a convincing 34-19 win against Zimbabwe in the Semis.

Kenya too headed into the final full of optimism and expectations after thrashing neighbours Uganda, 42-7 in the Quarters before a cagy 36-33 win over Algeria in the Semi-Finals.

On the night, flanker Wian Conradie booked his team a place in the global showpiece following a hat-trick of tries.

His and Namibia's first try came in the 17th minute when hooker, Torsten van Jaarsveld powered through Kenya's defence before passing it to scrumhalf Damian Stevens who linked with Conradie to go over the line.

The resulting conversion was missed when flyhalf Cliven Loubser went wide but he made up for it when he comfortably slotted in a penalty a few minutes later, to make it 10-0.

Namibia capitalised on Kenya's mistakes just before half time when they were awarded a five-metre scrum. The scrum saw Adriaan Booysen burst through the crowd only to feed Conradie, for his second try of the day. Score at half-time, 15-0.

Conradie sealed his hat-trick in the last two minutes of the match before Namibia added their fourth through captain Johan Deysel. Game over.

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