Kenya narrowly beat Madagascar 21-20 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday to retain the Barthes U20 Trophy.
Kenya won the 2019 edition by beating Namibia 21-18. The 2020 edition has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament took on added significance as Kenya hosted its first international rugby event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of last year.
Kenya scored three tries thanks to Maxwell Atera, vice-captain Matoka Matoka and captain John Baraka while Matoka, who was named man of the match, took two penalties.
Madagascar responded with three tries as well as a conversion and a penalty.
Kenya had already qualified for the 2022 World Junior Trophy but were happy to be able to defend their title.
“The game was a bit tense in the first half, the scores were tight, but we managed to widen the gap in the second half,” Baraka said after the game.
“We gave in to the pressure in the final minutes, but in the end our teamwork and defense won for us.”
Meanwhile, Kenya, Namibia and Ivory Coast have all secured their places for the 2022 African Rugby Cup (RAC) quarter-finals.
Kenya beat Zambia 45-8 and although Côte d’Ivoire lost 19-24 to Madagascar, the West Africa team and Namibia advanced based on the differences between points scored and the points conceded in each match.
Next year, the Rugby Africa Cup tournament will serve as the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament for Africa.