The great finale beckons Saturday afternoon as rugby fans prepare to install their new national champions. Top two performers this season, Kenya Commercial Bank and Kenya Harlequins, clash for the Kenya Cup trophy at the RFUEA ground on Ngong road, Nairobi, from 4pm.
The battle towards the exhausting final has been punctuated by interesting moments. From the powerful racking and mauling to sensational try scoring and conversions. The passion, emotions and cheering amidst referees’ wise or controversial calls sum it all.
And with tacticians Edward Kinyany and Michael “Tank” Otieno declaring total rugby, the centre cannot hold. Revenge is on KCB’s lips while Quins seek to affirm their supremacy in a clash that should witness one of the closest individual rivalries in the recent past.
Class of their own
It’s Quins, who have wowed many with their brand of running rugby, which contrasted their known strong forward play. Quins, who are looking for their sixth cup success in 36 years, were simply in a class of their own during the normal season with six wins and one loss against Nakuru RFC.
One of their most astute victories was against their rivals whom they comprehensively outclassed 37-12. That saw the Nivea for Men backed side top the log for a pulsating semi-final duel with outgoing champions, Impala, whom they had also devoured 21-12 in regular season.
They were to affirm their superiority, draining the life out of the Resolution Health sponsored Gazelles 25-16. KCB Lions were also sublime, especially in their pack, to finish second in the league with five wins, one draw and one loss. It summoned for the semi-final with Nakuru where they fought tooth and nail to win 20-10.
Quins have claimed Kenya Cup success five times in the last 36 years, with back-to-back victories in 1996 and 97, then in 1999, 2003 and 2008. The bankers boast of a hat-trick of victories with a head-to-head triumphs in 2005, 2006 and 2007. KCB’s Peter Mutai will be knocking over either penalties, drop goals or conversions like there is no tomorrow while Quins should trust the boots of either Peter Abuoga and Edwin Achayo.
A classy display will be in the forwards with both skippers Daniel Kiptoo (Quins) and Edwin Alubaka (KCB) spearheading the front row assault. The Lions’ pack is also spiced up with Curtis Lilako and Moses Amusala while Kiptoo hopes for a back-up from the unrelenting the leading try scorer, Vincent Ong’era, and Joel Ng’ang’a.
Inspirational Dennis Mwanja and Ronnie Mwenesi will be a sight to behold in KCB’s second row with Quins unleashing equally crafty Jared Owinyo and Tony Mutai. The contest for back row places is close with Quins spoilt for David Mogere, Allan Onyango, Leslie Libasia and Jeff Ojwach.
Philip Wamae, Xavier Makuba, Ken Isindu, Anthony Ogot and Anthony Ochino are on the opposing side. Quins’ back play has been formidable and one cannot wait to see Patrice Agunda, David Ambunya and Dennis Muhanji doing their act. KCB’s Andrew Amonde, Brian Omondi and Fabian Olando also have been wacky in their own rights.
Otieno calls for fairness from those who will handle the match. “If there will be calls, let the teams be punished on same level,” said Otieno. “The team with few mistakes shall carry the day.”
Kenya Cup:Play-offs: Impala vs Nakuru (2pm); Final: KCB vs Quins (4pm), all matches at the RFUEA ground and televised live on SuperSport.
Eric Shirley Shield final: Homeboyz vs. Kisumu (12pm) at Impala; Universities League final:Mean Machine II vs Spartans (10am) at Impala.