Video: Rugby league is a big hit in Kenya

Five thousand people turned up to watch Kenya defeat Italy 34-24 in a groundbreaking international in Watumu.

The Italians (FIRFL) have been on tour in the African country, fielding a team of domestic based players, a far cry from the squad that lined up at last autumn’s World Cup, and that defeated England 15-14 on the eve of the tournament.

The home tries were scored by Otieno (2), Shibadu (2), Hassam, Mose and Kisaka, with Limo landing three conversions.

For the Azurri, the try scorers were Massafra, Bianco, Maionchi, D’Aquila and Staccone, with Ippoliti converting two of them.

NRL Technical Commissioner Tyrone Sterry said: “”Kenya is a great formation with great technical growth and tactics, as you can see from the progress achieved in rugby union and rugby 7’s. The Africans have great physicality, as it was easily imaginable, but our guys gave their maximum effort with managing to make good tackles. 

“Among other things, given the player commitments in Serie A (rugby union) and Eccellenza (pro), we had a slightly altered team, but this international has better served to understand the level of many of our guys, and we’re satisfied with what we saw.

“The technical aspect of the African trip was as important as the social aspect. There was a wonderful atmosphere at the playing field and I have to thank the local authorities for the hospitality we had received, which the Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League thought was perfect organisation of the event and the trip. These are things that are very good for the growth of our movement, but are not limited to.

“I think that everyone of us will feel this was something special after this experience in Kenya, in a charming place and having contact with a population with so many problems, but are very generous.”

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