The Prinsloo Sevens gets underway on Friday in Nakuru without the national sevens team players who have been invited to the official signing of the new constitution into law at Uhuru Park.
The players will however join their respective teams on Saturday, the second day of the tournament. The team’s invitation to the State function was a subject of controversy between the Kenya Rugby Union and and Nakuru RFC, the hosts of Prinsloo.
After giving Nakuru the green light to host the event on Friday and Saturday, KRU asked the hosts to revert to the Saturday and Sunday schedule when it emerged that the national sevens team had been invited to Uhuru Park and State House thereafter.
Little room for mistakes
However, Nakuru declined saying it was too late to inform teams of the changes in the dates. Kenya Harlequin have promised little room for mistakes as they meet debutants Mtaa Select in the opening match. Mtaa Sevens tournament held recently.
They will be without Wilson K’Opondo and Leon Adongo for this tournament, the second in the Western Union National Sevens Circuit (NSC), has attracted 24 teams including Rwanda national team, Silverbacks.
Unlike the 16 team tournament where the top two teams from each pool make the main cup quarters, Prinsloo has six pools where the winners and the best two runners up proceed to the main Cup quarters.
Quins, sponsored by Nivea For Men, have vowed to avoid hiccups that almost cost them the Christie Sevens title last weekend when they had to rally from 0-10 at interval to beat Mwamba 15-10.
Quins expects a walk in the park to the main Cup with meek opposition in Daystar University and Bungoma RFC awaiting them.
Mwamba, without brothers Humphrey Kayange and Collis Injera, Horace Owiti and George Mbaye, hope for a better showing than their performance in the Christie Sevens final against Quins last weekend, especially after dismantling their opponents including Impala 28-0 in the semi-finals.
‘Kulabu’, as fondly known by the fans, are the tournament’s second seeds and should also expect a smooth sail to the main Cup from Pool B.
They will encounter Pool B that has Nondescripts, Kitale RFC and Egerton University. Interestingly, it’s Masinde Muliro that stunned Mwamba 17-10 in Plate semis.
“We successfully tried out several combinations and variations last weekend and we should be comfortable,” said Quins coach Charles Cardovillis.
“ We still have a rich depth even with the absence of Kopondo and Adongo.”
Mwamba coach Tito Oduk said: “We now know what it takes to win a final and we should come up ruthlessly at Prinsloo. We have worked on our defence and things are okay.”
Home side Nakuru, Christie Sevens main cup semi-finalists will take on Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad, Silverbacks and Webuye RFC in Pool C. Larry Safari, Bernard Chirchir and Graham Kombo were instrumental in their solid show in Nairobi.