The 11th edition of the Bamburi Rugby Super Series get under way today with four explosive matches on the cards at three venues in Kenya and Uganda.
Fireworks is the word at the RFUEA grounds when Papa (Sharks) and Western Kenya franchise Kiboko (Hippos) start the proceedings at 2pm before the big duel pitting Nyumbu (Wildebeest) against Ugandan franchise Victoria at 4pm in Pool A.
Rift Valley that will for the first time have its own franchise comes alive when Ndovu (Elephants) host coastal side Mamba (Crocodile) to the Nakuru Athletic Club for a Pool B fixture while Rwenzori that reached the Cup final last year, host Kenyan varsity franchise Kengewa (Hawks) at the Kyadondo Rugby grounds in Kampala in the other Pool B fixture.
Arguably, the day’s top bill duel will be between Nyumbu that is an amalgamation of former Kenya Cup champions Kenya Harlequin, Impala and Nondescripts and the Ugandan franchise that is a blend of top clubs.
Nyumbu is a bet for many pundits owing to its fine composition of national team players. Their power will revolve around the pack marshalled by skipper Joel Ng’ang’a, Duncan Ekasi, Ben Nyambu, Wilson K’Opondo, Ronnie Mwenesi, Brian Nyikuli and Tony Mutai.
The side also has an enterprising backline of Charles Kanyi behind the pack, Isaac Adimo at fly half, Dennis Muhanji at centre, Leon Adongo and Vincent Mose at wing and Lyle Asiligwa at sweeping position.
Victoria will be lethal too as they seek to deliver the coveted title to Uganda for the first time. The side has Kenyan born Ugandan international Dennis Mugambe, 2011 BRSS top try scorer Justin Kimono, Anthony Kinene, Timothy Mudoola, Robert Seguya and Andrew Olweny among the numbers.
“I am confident the boys will deliver unless they just want to let themselves down, “ said Nyumbu Paul Murunga. “They know they are quality outfit but I have cautioned them against overconfidence.”
The clash between Papa and Kiboko will be an interesting affair. However, Kiboko that comprises players from Kisumu and Western Bulls and other clubs from the Western Region must conjure something special to tame the hungry Papa that has some quality players from the new Enterprise Cup champions Mwamba, Great Rift 10-a-sice champion Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Homeboyz.
Papa’s coach Paul Odera will be seeking inspiration from some of his pulsating blend of former Kenya Sevens players in the likes of Dennis Mwanja, Lavin Asego, Michael Agevi, Edgar Abere and Fabian Olando. The squad is also compact with Internationals Curtis Lilako and Peter Mutai.
The Great Rift floor will be another hot bed with Ndovu out to deliver second silverware after Nakuru RFC ensured Kenya Cup left Nairobi for the first time in history this season. Nakuru will be seeking support varsity sides Egerton and Moi, Eldoret and Kitale in Ndovu’s quest.
“These players know each other well and I also know them too havinf handled them at different national level,” said Ndovu coach Dominique habimana.
Former Kenya Sevens international Gibson Weru will be influential in Ndovu’s quest alongside 15s internationals Lawrence Buyachi and Kelvin Omiyo.
Mombasa that has Mombasa Sports Club, Shepherds, Spartans and Mombasa Polytechnic will have to dig deep to stop being trampled by Ndovu.
Rwenzori that has Alex Mubiru, former Mwamba player Scott Oluoch, Michael Wokorach and Dennis Etuket among others are favourites but it all depends on what challenge the Kenyan varsity sides have taken to Kampala.