Kenya beat Zambia in the Africa Cup Pool B qualifier today 36-17, matching exactly Uganda’s score against the same opponents last week. The two teams will meet to decide a place in the finals on Wednesday.
Zambia’s naivety and inexperience of the 15s game (this was only their sixth test) was evident from the start. A kick ahead by Kenya just failed to go dead, and a Zambian player comfortably won the race to the ball – but tried to run the ball from behind her own line, got into a terrible mess and gave away possession that resulted in Kenya’s opening try, and 5-0 lead after just two minutes.
Yet when in possession, Zambia showed their sevens experience, moving the ball quickly and looking dangerous at times, spending much of the next 15 minutes in the Kenyan half – but without a reward.
But as soon as Kenya regained possession they scored again – and again after Zambia collected a kick behind their own goal-line and decided to run the ball rather than touch it down, Kenya scoring a second try shortly afterwards to lead 12-0. A well taken drop goal followed two minutes later to extend the lead to 15-0.
But Zambian remained dangerous in possession and scored from the restart – slicing run from the scrumhalf Mary Liamba resulting in the try of the game. 15-5
Kenya added a penalty, but Zambia again scored from the restart, a poor Kenyan clearance kick going straight to the Zambian fullback, who scored. 18-12.
However, Kenya added one more try before the break, Zambia having problems coping with the Kenyan maul, the ball was then spread wide taking advantage of a huge overlap.
Kenya extended their lead after five minutes of the second half with their fourth try, Zambia unable to clear their lines despite turning the Kenyans over on several occasions. Another penalty soon followed. 33-12
But a second try from by Mary Liamba, followed, another break and fast weaving run resulting in a brilliant individual try. 33-17.
On the hour, another infringement in front of the posts resulted in another Kenyan penalty, extending the lead to 36-17.
And that was the final score. Despite going down to 14 players for the final few minutes, Zambia were able to survive the final few minutes without conceding any future points.