The shouts and cheers of Algeria’s many fans at Marseille’s Delort Stadium on Wednesday afternoon were not enough. Despite his bravery, determination and mastery of his pack, the fifteen in the Two Lions ended up losing nothing against Kenya in the rugby Africa Cup semi-finals (36-33). The Kenyans were a little more realistic near the goal area.
Therefore, the Algerians will not participate in the World Cup in France in 2023, losing what would have been a great first in their young history of rugby. The disappointment is great, inevitably, but the North African team can at least boast of clear progress that will undoubtedly make it a credible candidate for qualification in future editions.
Despite a good start for the Algerians
It had all started, however, as a dream for the 82nd country in the IRB ranking. After six minutes of play, he was already 7-0 ahead after a magnificent action that saw the ball circulate from right to left, then from left to right, going from three quarters to forwards, after forwards to three quarters , sometimes. at the price of magnificent passes with one hand in contact, to finally finish behind the line thanks to third Marvin Youcef. But Kenya is back for the first time thanks to center John Okeyo (7-7, 12th).
Not much, Algeria has returned to the charge to win the opposing defense with a ball model carried after touchdown concluded by hitter Issam Hamel (14-7, 16th). And then the match turned around when we least expected it, when the North Africans had re-invested the Kenyan field. In a crazy action initiated by a daring long touch of the Simbas in their own 22 meters. In recovery, third-line Bethwel Muteshi burst the Algerian curtain in the middle before sinking to full field and throwing a ball to keep on foot for his Okeyo center, faster than anyone to go and record his second try. of the match (14-14). 14, 19). A magnificent 100-meter race, in the pure tradition of these Kenyan players, most of whom are fed up with 7-a-side rugby.
Five attempts per side
Then, the match changed in appearance, with a more dominant and enterprising Kenya who ended up concretizing his highlights four minutes before the break with a try from his back and striker Darwin Kinyangi (14-21, 36th).
Stung, the Algerians came back stronger after the break and were quick to tie in a copy-paste of their second try with the ball carried. More powerful, they pushed their No. 2 Hamel behind the line again (21-21, 45th). Behind, when we began to believe that this match would be reduced to an art and rehearsal festival, Kenya quickly regained the lead with a penalty from Jone Kubu Tavaga, who had just entered the match (21-24, 48th) . It will not be resumed, even if the outcome of the meeting was undecided until the end. Kenya scored two more tries through Eugène Wesonga Sihuna (52nd) and Bryceson Agesa Adaka (60th), but just like Algeria did the same thanks to Nadir Megdoud (58th) and a penalty try after a total grip in closed melee (69th), only three. points separated the two teams at the start of the final ten minutes (33-36).
End of Sunday evening
Exhausted, then they left everything on the ground, but nothing will be marked. It is Kenya who will face Namibia or Zimbabwe (who face this Wednesday evening), Sunday evening, in the final in Aix-en-Provence (21 h). The winner will qualify directly for the next World Cup, where he will be transferred to the group of France.