Credit: John Philip Mugabi
  • Victoria Cup 2023 – Matchday Two
  • Result: Kenya 36-12 Zambia

Kenya have beaten Zambia by 36-12 during the 2023 Victoria Cup at Kyadondo Rugby Club on Wednesday evening. However, this scoreline does not accurately tell the story of this match.

Either Kenya were not as clinical as we have come to expect them or Zambia were much better than we had anticipated.

Perhaps because Kenya named a squad with thirteen debutants – seven starters, six substitutes – for their first match and/or because Zambia were playing their second match of the tournament.

The two perspectives are not mutually exclusive and could have both been at play during this gruelling mid-week encounter.

Credit: John Philip Mugabi

Kenya scored the first try two minutes into the match through Hillary Odhiambo and added another before a further eight minutes elapsed through Joel Inzuga. By the thirtieth minute, the East African giants led by 19-00 after another try by Paul Mutsami.

At that point, it looked like they were going to simply run over Zambia.

But suddenly, the Southern Africans began to match them physically and the party turned into a battle.

Zambia responded by striking two penalties through Alex Mwewa and Terry Kaushiku in the final ten minutes of the first half. But they could not find a way through the Kenyan defense for a try.

Kenya took a 19-06 lead into the break as they dominated where it mattered most. On the scoreboard.

The second half followed the same script. Both teams in a bone-crushing fight for physical dominance. Kenya scoring the tries. Zambia settling for penalties.

Kenya’s three second-half tries were scored by Jone Kubu, Teddy Akala, and captain George Nyambua. Zambia’s two penalties were kicked by Kaushiku.

The momentum in the match swung both ways repeatedly and without looking at the scoreboard, one would not be sure which team was leading in that half.

Similar to the first match against Uganda, Zambia’s second half was an improvement from the first. One of the many positives that they will take home since this was their final match of the tournament.

Kenya, on the other hand, have done the job required of them and can now turn their eyes to the title-decider against Uganda on Sunday afternoon.

Jone Kubu Tavaga Credit: John Philip Mugabi

Kenya full-back Jone Kubu was named the Man of the Match.

Ernest Akorebirungi joined Kawowo Sports in July 2019 after one year as a student volunteer at the Makerere University Games Union. In his role as rugby correspondent, he offers unique insight and analysis...

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