Impala's resilience to be tested by Kabras

By francis marangu
Mar 04, 2021
  • Impala club will be the focus of this weekend's Kenya Cup matches while the national 7's team play in Las Vegas. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

All eyes of the local rugby fraternity will be fixed on Impala Club this weekend as the venue hosts two potentially action-packed fixtures in the Kenya Cup league.

Hosts Impala RFC will face Kabras Sugar while Strathmore University tackle champions Kenya Commercial Bank RFC.

The match against Kabras Sugar will be the third toughest test for Impala this year. The gazelles have already beaten Nakuru RFC and Homeboyz RFC since New Year. They sit at the summit of the log with 56 points while Kabras lie seventh on 44 points.

The sugar millers are on a six-match winning run and have lost only once this year to Homeboyz RFC. Impala could rely on home ground advantage to get a positive result.

In seven matches they have played at home this season, Impala has lost only once. On the other hand, Kabras has been on the winning side for their last four away matches. So far, they have played seven matches away with two losses and a draw adding to the wins.

When they meet on Saturday, both teams will have different mission to accomplish. Impala has to get any type of a win to maintain league leadership. However, a bonus point loss or draw will still work for them.

Three changes are lined up for the gazelles. Tyson Okoth will start at flanker relegating Paul Mutsami to the bench. In the backs, Samson Onsomu will start at scrumhalf in place of Mohamed Omollo while Israel Soi makes a maiden start for the season at center replacing injured Samuel Motari.

Kabras will bank on consistency. After stagnating at eighth for some time, they managed to move a place up last weekend and getting a win off Impala will take them closer to top four.

High stakes between KCB and Strathmore

The Strathmore-KCB tie will have high stakes as well. These are two teams in the top four and only four points makes the difference. KCB lie third with 51 points while Strathmore has 47. In the first leg, Strathmore beat KCB 27-25.

They did the same against Homeboyz in the past two weeks but have to take their game a notch higher against the champions. KCB’s forwards formation has lost hooker Peter Karia and Max Adaka this season and their absence has been telling.

Andrew Amonde is also missing having travelled with Kenya Sevens team to Las Vegas.

In their first leg meeting, Strathmore won the match by dominating the scrum and lineout and those will be the key battle lines this weekend.

Quins who are tied on 51 points with KCB play Bungoma Sharks and will go all out for a bonus point win.

At Nakuru Athletic Club (NAC), Mwamba will face a stern test against hosts Nakuru RFC with both teams tied on 46 points and keen to break into the top four. Mwamba has not lost in the last five matches.

Nakuru has lost once in the last five matches. Gone are the days when NAC was a feared ground for visiting teams and Mwamba has the chance to prove a point. Nakuru has already lost to Impala and Kabras at home this season.

Tough hunting ground

In Kakamega, it will be a meeting of two teams seeking a win by all means when Western Bulls host Homeboyz. The Bull Ring has become a tough hunting ground for Bulls. They have lost their last three home matches and have gone for four straight matches winless.

Also, Homeboyz has lost three matches in a row and this weekend will be redemption time for both sides. There is immense pressure on Homeboyz who now eighth on the log.

Thika RFC will host Mean Machine in a bottom-of-the-table clash while Blak Blad host Nondescripts RUFC.

Kenya Cup Fixtures

Strathmore University v KCB (2 p.m., Impala Club), Impala RFC v Kabras Sugar (4 p.m., Impala Club), Western Bulls v Homeboyz RFC (4 p.m., Kakamega), Blak Blad v Nondescripts RUFC (4 p.m., Kenyatta University) Bungoma Sharks v Kenya Harlequin FC (4 p.m., Bungoma High School), Thika RFC v Mean Machine (4 p.m., Thika Stadium), Nakuru RFC v Mwamba RFC (4 p.m., Nakuru Athletic Club).