I asked a Nondies supporter if he thought they would win the game (before it started), He said, “ I hope we do” and after the first scrum I actually thought they might have a chance.
Nondies began strongly, with the first scrum of the game being awarded to them, followed by a strong run by their first center.
A new boy I gather just 19 years of age who had caused all sorts of trouble for Bungoma a few weeks earlier I hear. He’s a big unit, with what looked like sufficient speed and agility to get the job done. He would later make two more runs like this, gaining the same sort of ground between 10-15 meters per run.
He was their best ball carrier, attracting between 2 to 3 defenders per run. The most astonishing thing about this was him being moved to the Wing in the second half and not so much that he moved to the wing but that, I don’t think he touched the ball at all in the second half.
The Nondies faithful were as taken back as I was by these tactics, and kept reiterating that their play should have been centered around him as he was their most effective player.
Impala did not seemed troubled at all, from the beginning they looked comfortable and at ease, Impala half back Mohammed and Nato had a field day, constructing two tries, both of similar nature; taking advantage of the Nondies tiring forwards with a quick tap from Mohammed, great support play by Nato and a draw and pass for simple tires. George Okowa stepped up to take a conversion and the Nondies supporters were frustrated because he seemed to take an eternity to take the kick- I also thought the took quite a while to be honest.
George Okowa stepped up to take a conversion and the Nondies supporters were frustrated because he seemed to take an eternity to take the kick- I also thought the took quite a while to be honest.
The Nondies supporters were unhappy because he took more than 40 seconds to take the conversion, I honestly wasn’t sure what the time allocated to take the conversion was, so I looked it up. And it’s 90 seconds from the point at which the Try is awarded, I timed George on his next conversion and he took 80 seconds. So frankly well within the time limitation!
The Box Kick! This seemed to be Nondies go to tactic, the box kick. Unfortunately for them it was not being well executed at all! Nondies were in the left touch line in their 22 and they went for the box kick, the Kick went straight down to the middle of the pitch and right into the bread basket of Sammy Oliech- the box kick in itself was not the best but their chase line left a lot to be desired.
There was a huge gap between the chasers and Sammy exploited this with a side step and was galloping down the field, he drew the Full Back and a long pass to Ian Minjire on the Wing, Try! Or not!
The Nondies guys saw a forward pass, and so did the touch judge. I didn’t! In my understanding of the “forward pass” the ball ought to be passed forward off the players hands; see because of the sheer physics and speed that the players move at, the ball will move forward, as if one is running at 10 kph the ball is also moving at 10 kph so if you pass the ball at that speed it will keep moving forward at roughly the same speed as you are thus if you pass the ball at the half line at that speed, it is possible that the receiver will catch the ball ahead of the half line, which does not mean that the ball was passed forward as long as the ball was passed back off the players hands. So the hand movement is really what is key here! The try was not awarded for a forward pass nonetheless.
The second box kick gone completely wrong, the scrum half just dropped the ball cold, and it was picked up by Nato and an easy try for supporting player Omer down the center.
I don’t think I have ever seen a team enjoy defending as much as I did on Saturday. The Impala defense was not under pressure at any point in the match, they had men on their feet and out of the Rucks and we hitting hard in the tackle. Given the Nondies attack was obvious and was not packing too much of a punch especially after they cut out their No.12 from the game, but the Impala defense was a well-oiled machine on the day.
Man of the match would have to be Nato Simiyu with 3 tries, running great support lines, and using the Huge spiral punt to control the game; most of all proving again that rugby is truly about the brains as much if not more than the brawn.
The Nondies fans were harsh, and probably Nondies biggest critics. Pointing out basic errors and simple issues of what they called common sense. i.e. Nondies had a penalty, and the punter of the ball for the touch line opted go for the longer side ( making it more difficult to make ground and making less ground) and if this was not enough, his jumpers were now jumping into the sunset, so their vision was compromised- they did loose that line out!
Another was the Box Kick obviously- they had issues with that box kick. Just to point out one other thing was with the score at 26 -6 and with a penalty advantage Nondies went for the drop kick that they eventually scored making it 26-9 but the Nondies fans weren’t satisfied, questioning why they did not go for a try with such a huge deficit and a penalty advantage!
When Impala scored a try off the back of a scrum with a ball back on the inside to the 11 coming through, making the score 34-9, the Nondies fans finally conceded defeat, saying the game was over, I thought it had been over for a while by that point. Impala went on to score another 16 points, the game ending with a huge 50 -9 score line.
I would have loved to watch the Quins v Nakuru game. Seems like the real Nakuru did stand up #beyond40!
– Barrack Bukusi