Kabras keen to collect a double, Impala could spoil the party

By francis marangu
Jun 10, 2021
  • Kabras host Impala as they gun for a second title. In Nairobi, Kenya Commercial Bank face Strathmore University in the Enterprise Cup semi-finals.

Kabras have already bagged one title but could be closer to getting a double with Impala RFC their next obstacle in the Enterprise Cup, the grand trophy of Kenya rugby.

It will be an epic battle this weekend as the top four teams battle for a place in the Enterprise Cup final. The top semifinal clash will be in Kakamega with a repeat of last month’s Kenya Cup final.

Kabras Sugar will be hosting Impala RFC just a month after beating the gazelles 22-5 to claim their maiden league title. A lot is expected from this match on the pitch. Kabras have made their intentions clear of going for a season double.

On the other hand, Impala has gone for a decade since they last won in 2005 and this could be the year to break that jinx.

Playing at home could be one of the advantages for Kabras. Set pieces will be a key area of contention in the match and the team with aggressive forwards on the day will have the last laugh.

Specifically, Kabras could take advantage of their strength at the forwards to muscle Impala at the lineout and scrum. But, the gazelles will not be a walk in the park.

With captain Duncan Ekasi leading from backrow, they will be up for the fight. Simon Muniafu, flanker Tyson Okoth and prop Kelvins Karani are the regulars missing from their starting forwards.

In contrast, Kabras could have Max Adaka as the only absentee thus will be a bit consistent at the forwards. In the absence of Simon Muniafu and Eric Kerre who are with the national fifteens team, Daniel Abok will play at lock alongside Davis Makori.

Competitive at line out

They will be the key men to make sure Impala remains competitive at the lineout. It is one department they were superior in the Kenya Cup campaign but it could be different this weekend.

Abok partnered Makori in the quarterfinal tie against Mwamba RFC and will come up against experienced hands of Anthony Ogot. At flyhalf, Anthony Nyandigisi will start for Impala in the absence of regular starter Nato Simiyu.

From the team that beat Mwamba, Director of Rugby Fred Ollows has made twin changes at the forwards. Hooker Daniel Ndome and prop Dennis Karani will be making it to the starting lineup.

Kabras key player for the season Jone Kubu will be one man that Impala might be worried about. He controls territorial play for Kabras with tactical kicking and with his opposite match Nato Simiyu absent, it could give the sugar millers an edge with play upfront.

It will be the fourth meeting between Kabras and Impala this season. Already, Kabras has won two of the matches.

At Impala Club, Kenya Commercial Bank RFC will put their title defense on the line when they welcome Strathmore University. Flyhalf Ian Lumwaji is shaping out as a good replacement for Kenny Andola at Strathmore and stands out with good kicks.

He will be key to executing Strathmore’s gameplan in the match. Andola will start on the bench for KCB as Billy Isabwa completes the halfback combination with scrumhalf Michael Wanjala.

Reliable bench

In his absence, the bankers have utility back Ken Moseti starting at center and could complement their play with tactical kicking. Both teams have reliable bench power to change play in second half where the match could be won.

Edwin Otieno, Marlin Mukolwe and Edwin Salamba for KCB and Mugambi Kithamba, Brian Alukwe and Eugene Nzioka for Strathmore.

Typically, KCB is always quick to do the damage in first half with early tries and points but could be tricky against Strathmore.

With Churchill Ooko and Ginton Adongo starting, the students have the power to contain the bankers or even upstage them early enough. The duo, with hawk eyes for the tryline, can strike well before the opponent settles down.

It is an advantage for Strathmore considering Darwin Mukidza will be missing for KCB. Mukidza’s boot is enough to win a match.

Squads

Impala RFC - 15. Mark Kwemoi, 14. Quinto Ongo, 13. Israel Soi, 12. Kevin Ochami, 11. Lameck Dunde, 10. Anthony Nyandigisi, 9. Mohamed Omollo, 1. Stephen Juma, 2. Daniel Ndome, 3. Dennis Karani, 4. Davis Makori, 5. Daniel Abok, 6. Joel Omer, 7. Paul Mutsami, 8. Duncan Ekasi; Replacements: 16. Kelvins Karani, 17. Neville Omondi, 18. Paul Oimbo, 19. Steve Shammah, 20. Moses Kola, 21. Patrick Mutuku, 22.Samuel Motari, 23. Meshack Tunechi.

Strathmore University - 15. George Orembo, 14. John Oduk, 13. Churchill Ooko, 12. Patrick Handa, 11. Ginton Adongo, 10. Ian Lumwaji, 9. Dennis Juma, 1. Eric Kioko, 2. Teddy Dondi, 3. John Okwara, 4. Michael Gitau, 5. Charles Omondi, 6. Elton Isiaho, 7. Adrian Opondo, 8. Gabriel Adero; Replacements 16: Mugambi Kithamba, 17. Cecil Jamwa, 18. Barry Guda, 19. Teddy Agutu, 20. Carlwilliams Odhiambo, 21. Eugene Nzioka, 22. Brian Alukwe, 23. Kanyiri Kariuki.

KCB - 15. Elphas Otieno, 14. Collins Wanjala, 13. James Kilonzo, 12. Ken Moseti, 11, Peter Kilonzo, 10. Billy Isabwa, 9. Michael Wanjala, 1. Oscar Simiyu, 2. George Asin, 3. George Gichure, 4. Francis Mwita, 5. John Ahenda, 6. Griffin Musila, 7. Peter Waitere, 8. Rocky Aguko; Replacements: 16. Benson Ndung’u, 17. Derrick Odhiambo, 18. Calvin Sule, 19. Edwin Otieno, 20. Marlin Mukolwe, 21. Kenny Andola, 22. Arthur Ochieng, 23. Edwin Salamba.