Defending champion Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Kenya Harlequin have made tactical changes ahead of Saturday's Kenya Cup rugby league clash at the RFUEA grounds.
Quins will be seeking their first win against the bankers in two seasons, having lost to Curtis Olago’s side 43-17 during the 2017/2018 season.
Quins edged out KCB 36-28 during the 2015/2016 play-offs to settle for third place. The bankers would then beat Quins 29-26 during the 2016/2017 regular season and went on to win 19-12 in the play-offs semi-finals. KCB then downed Kabras Sugar 36-8 to lift the title that season.
Both Quins and KCB have lost one match each, winning twice this season.
“It won’t be about history here since every team will be out to express itself. Any side that blinks first will find themselves on the losing end,” said Olago.
Quins coach Charles Cardovillis said they are looking to improve every week without looking at their opponent. “I just want the players to get used to the new system, structures and combinations.
KCB have brought in Kenya Simbas’ player Oliver Mang’eni at second-row for his first Kenya Cup match this season in place of Ian Indimuli, who drops to the bench.
Rocky Anguko, who is out with work commitment has been replaced by Felix Ojow at open-side flank in match where Kenya Simbas and Sevens stalwart Andrew Amonde shift from eight to blindside, with Peter Waitere coming to eight from open-side flank.
KCB have brought on board Oscar Simiyu and George Asin for Moses Amusala and Peter Kaaria at tight-head prop and hooker respectively.
They will be without Kenya Simbas skipper Davis Chenge, Martin Owilah, Shaban Ahmed, Ken Moseti, Brian Omondi and Nick Ongeri staying out.
While Welsh-born Kenyan international fly-half William Reeves braces himself for his maiden Kenya Cup appearance, Cardovillis has rung positional changes. Martin Wanjia moves to fullback with Kevin Angote starting at eight.
Jaspher Ochen and Dominic Osino moves from scrum-half and fly-half to the outside centre and wing respectively.
Quins have a strong bench that has Kenya Simbas forwards Malcom Onsando and Wilson K’Opondo as well as backs Frank Wanyama and David Ambunya, who are making their first appearance this season.
In the other double-header at the RFUEA, Impala Saracens, that is the only side yet to lose this season besides Kabras Sugar and Nondescripts, take on Mean Machine from the University of Nairobi at 2pm.
Kabras and Nondies hope to uphold their unbeaten run away to Strathmore and Mwamba at Madaraka and Railway respectively.
Kenya Simbas’ Derrick Mayar and Edmund Anya come in to bolster Impala Saracens on the left and right wings respectively with seasoned Vincent Mose at full back.
Mark Kwemoi, who started at fullback last Saturday, has been shifted to outside centre, partnering with Xavier Bett at inside centre while the newcomer Steve Shammah starts at scrum-half.
Skipper Samson Onsomu and hooker Daniel Ndome, debutants in the Kenya Cup, start at the bench.
Mean Machine v Impala Saracens (2pm-TV game)-RFUEA
Harlequins v KCB (4pm-TV game)-RFUEA
Menengai Oilers v Homeboyz (4pm)-Nakure ASK Showground
Mwamba v Nondescripts (4pm) Railway Club, Nairobi
Strathmore Leos v Kabras Sugar (4pm) Madaraka
Nakuru v Blak Blad (4pm) Nakuru Athletics Club