The Story of Kenya Simbas in 2018

The Kenya 15s National team, Simbas, played a total of 10 matches in 2018 campaign and managed to bag one trophy (the Elgon Cup).

Ian Snook charges scored 287 and conceded a total of 337 points in the 10 matches and they managed to collect five wins and lost five.

Kenya Simbas duo Sammy Oliech and Leo Seje tussle against German opponent at the Repechage. Photo Courtesy/ Jan Perlich, Rugbylicious)


Two months before the start of the campaign, Snook a New Zealander was unveiled as the head coach, with his main task being to guide Kenya to the 2019 World Cup. To pick a quality side, several trials were held at RFUEA Grounds and Snook picked his first ever squad saw the likes of Kenya U20 captain Xavier Bett, Malcolm Onsando, Patrick Ouko, Joseph Odero, Andrew Chogo,  Edmund Anya, Colman Were, Mohammed Omollo, Zedden Marrow, Willy Ambaka, and Max Kang’eri make their debut.

The side did not have friendly matches prior to the qualifiers and Snook's first match in charge was in Uganda where he guided Kenya to a 34-16 win in the first leg of the Elgon Cup.

Morocco vs Kenya in Casablanca on 30 June, 2018/photo/Quentin Didier

The Simbas then kicked off their Road to Japan with a hard-fought 28-24 win over Morocco in Casablanca. Kenya's first home match was against Zimbabwe Sables at the RFUEA Grounds.  The Sables gave Kenya a run for their money until the introduction of substitute Dalmas Chituyi who scored twice for a 45-36 win.

Snook's charges registered the third straight win in the qualifiers after a 38-22 win over Uganda. The win also saw the side retain the Elgon Cup which became Snook's first cup as the Head coach of Kenya Simbas.

The 15s sides registered the biggest win of the 2018 campaign after beating Tunisia 67-0. After the win, Namibia was the only team standing between Kenya and the historic World Cup qualification. 

On 18 August, the Simbas fans were all glued to the screens,  keen to catch every bit of the clash against Namibia but it all ended up in another heartbreak for Kenya as the African defending Champions stood tall and picked a 53-28 win which not only earned them a place in the 2019 World showpiece but also saw them retain the Africa Gold Cup title.

Kenya's Dalmus Chituyi scores his first try during Kenya's 45-36 victory against Zimbabwe on Saturday,30 June 2018/photo/ APO Group.

Kenya's final option was to try the Repechage route, and having missed out on a direct qualification, Snook pointed out that lack of proper preparations was their major undoing. He called for high profile friendlies to make the side competitive. Their preps encountered a lot of challenges and they ended up playing one friendly, against Romania.  The other scheduled friendlies were canceled.

Despite having called in Kenya 7s stars; Collins Injera, Nelson Oyoo, Sammy Oliech, Willy Ambaka, Andrew Amonde to add in the international experience at the Repechage, Kenya faltered in the friendly against Romania, a match with pointed out a lot of loopholes in the team.

At the Repechage, Kenya Simbas went on to concede 150 points, scored 42 and finished fourth on the log of the four-team table.

  • Games played -10
  • Wins -5
  • Draws-0 
  • Losses- 5
  • Points scored- 287
  • Points conceded- 337
  • Biggest win – 67-0 over Tunisia
  • Worst loss 65-19 against Canada

Elgon Cup opener

Uganda 16-34 Kenya Simbas

Rugby Africa Gold Cup Fixtures

23 June 2018
Morocco 24-28 Kenya

30 June 2018
Kenya 45-36 Zimbabwe

7 July 2018
Kenya 38-22 Uganda
11 August 2018
Kenya  67-0 Tunisia

18 August 2018
Namibia 53-28 Kenya


Romania 36-5 Kenya Simbas


Canada 65-19 Kenya Simbas

Hong Kong 42-17 Kenya Simbas

Germany 43-6 Kenya Simbas


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