Chipu boss Olago hails Zimbabwe ahead of World U20 Trophy all African showdown


RUGBY Chipu boss Olago hails Zimbabwe ahead of World U20 Trophy all African showdown

Mark Kinyanjui 05:00 - 28.07.2023

Kenya have a chance to avenge their defeat to Zimbabwe in the final of the Barthes Trophy.

Kenya men's rugby under 20 head coach Curtis Olago is wary of Zimbabwe’s threat when the two African sides clash in the fifth place playoff of the World U20 Trophy set to take place on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The last time both sides faced each other, the Kenyans were the ones on the end of a thumping, as they lost 28-7 in the Barthes Cup to the Shaun De Souza-coached outfit at the same venue in May.

Zimbabwe guaranteed their best-ever finish at the tournament with a stunning victory against the USA following a pulsating encounter.

The Junior Sables' first U20 Trophy victory since 2012 – and only their third in all – secured third place in Pool A and at least a sixth-placed finish overall, although they will have the chance to improve that to fifth in Sunday’s play-off.

Chipu will be careful not to go down to the African champions for the second time in as many months. Olago has praised his opponents, saying that his charges have their work cut out to put a smile on the faces of Kenyan fans who will be rallying behind the team.

“Wow, wow wow! Good! Fantastic! They have prepared well for this tournament, in terms of structure and in terms of growth. We have to be prepared for a very tough task,” Olago said.

The tactician, who also serves as KCB RFC 15s head coach, has however asked his side to show a level of improvement in all departments in order to avenge the previous Zimbabwe defeat.

He has also asked his players to ‘grow’ from the experience of the tournament, which is the most important thing at the developmental level.

“We are working on our structures. For the game against Zimbabwe, we have to see an improvement from the Barthes trophy,” Olago said.

“The way we faced Zimbabwe last time, we have to see an improvement in terms of the structure of the game, from the attack to the defense. It is not about the result. It is about growth.”