Forwards will have a heavy task to accomplish this weekend as the top four teams in the Kenya Cup clash at the semifinals stage.
Homeboyz RFC, Kenya Commercial Bank, Kenya Harlequin FC and Kabras Sugar have the best and lethal forwards in the league.
Their packs are likely to decide the outcome in both matches. It is in the tight five where the real battle for a place in the final on April 22 will be fought.
Homeboyz will meet Kabras at Jamhuri Showground while KCB host Quins.
The bankers and Homeboyz beat their Saturday’s opponents in the regular season match-ups.
KCB staged one of the remarkable comebacks of the season to beat Quins 29-26 at the RFUEA ground on March 18. Can KCB make it a double or will Quins earn their revenge at the KCB Sports Club?
Substitutions were key to the win and that could be yet another strategy head coach Curtis Olago plans to unleash.
Ian Indimuli, having largely featured for the ESS team this season rises the rank and will start as a flanker alongside Felix Ojow. That means Davies Chenge drops to the bench for another game.
He came on in the second half to help the bankers beat Quins and could be the key arsenal to help get a win again.
Martin Owila who has been key to the ESS team’s run to the playoffs starts on the bench. His introduction in the second half could be a real game changer for KCB.
Top try scorer
Prop Curtis Lilako returns after nursing injury to replace Nelson Nyandat for a frontrow partnership with Moses Amusala and George Asin.
Two seasons back, Lilako was the league's top try scorer.
Quins has prop brothers Joseph Kang’ethe and James Kang’ethe at frontrow alongside hooker Edward Aseko.
Whereas they will make sure their teams’ scrummaging is perfect, the lineout will be another key area for the teams to win possession. Getting steals will be very vital for either team.
Quins has the lock pairing of Wilson K’Opondo and Tony Mutai who will come up against Nick Ongeri and Oliver Mang’eni for KCB. Mang’eni has by far been a standout player at the lineout.
But, it will be interesting to see how the two pairs of locks will play out. KCB are usually dangerous when they have a lineout inside the 22. They have the ability to maul all the way for the try.
Darwin Mukidza will be the man to make sure that happens. He has been named to start at fullback and his kicks for touch will gain good ground for KCB every time they get penalties.
For Quins, they will be without regular fullback and kicker Kevin Keegan. Eric Shikuku will start in his place with flyhalf Isaac Adimo the reliable kicker in the side for the match.
Most consistent team
Homeboyz easily beat Kabras 34-22 when they met on March 4. With nine wins, a draw and no loss in 2017 plus topping the league with 67 points, Homeboyz has been the most consistent team.
That is a run of good fortune they would like to continue with in the semis. The deejays are known to attack well from the scrummage with back row Steve Otieno at the end of the attack.
Kabras also has good play at the scrummage and can maul strongly as they showed against Impala last weekend.
Homeboyz beat KCB when no team had managed to get a win against them. They have not lost to any of the teams in the semifinals this year.
Collins Shikoli and Alvin Otieno are set to start on the wings for Homeboyz. Wingers Felix Ayange and Malik Habil will start for Kabras with fullback Jone Kubu completing a good back three for the sugar millers.
In the Eric Shirley Shield semifinals, Quins II will host Impala II. Quinto Ongo and Richard Sidindi will line up for Impala.
In the second match, KCB II will play host to Mwamba II. Rocky Aguko, Stafford Abeka, Collins Wanjala and Edwin Salamba will all feature for KCB.
In the Championship, there will be real battle as the two finalists will earn direct promotion to the Kenya Cup. Catholic University will confront Mombasa RFC as Kisii RFC host United States International University- Africa (USIU-A).