Kenya Cup champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) launch their Impala Floodlit rugby title defence against Mwamba when they clash in the quarter final stage at the Impala Sports Club grounds on Saturday.
In the other quarter final matches, Enterprise Cup champions Homeboyz take on Nakuru at 2.30pm before paving way for Strathmore Leos and Nondescripts clash at 4pm.
Kenya Harlequin take the battle to neighbours and hosts Impala Saracens, who are the 2016 champions in the last match of the day at 7.30pm.
While KCB, who had a two-week preseason training in South Africa, will have one debutant winger Isaac Njoroge ; Mwamba have four debutants namely Kenyan international Tony Owuor, backrow Wycliffe Muema, Humphrey Clearus and centre Sabala Tendwa.
“We just want to test all our systems and gauge how our preseason has been. We want to know where we are, what we well work on and where we want to go,” said KCB coach Curtis Olago adding that he would want to give playing time to all the players.
Even though it has been long since Mwamba beat KCB, Olago reckoned that they have much respect for Kulabu. KCB and Mwamba met last during the Enterprise Cup quarterfinals in April this year where the bankers claimed a comprehensive 53-7 victory.
Mwamba coach Kevin “Bling” Wambua acknowledged that KCB is a quality side but hastened that his charges are ready for the duel where Owuor will start at the base of the scrum flanked on either side by Collins Injera and veteran Mark Okwaro.
Michael Agevi will also play a competitive 15s match after spending slightly a year out with an injured shoulder. He will start at fly-half.
“It’s a good tournament where we shall test our new style of play and overall structures. We know what KCB can do but we are not under any pressure,” said Wambua.
KCB beat Impala Saracens 18-17 to lift the Impala Floodlit title last year, a final that read from the same script as the 2016 final where Impala needed just one point to edge out KCB 33-22 and lift the crown.
Impala Saracens have interesting inclusions in the battle of neighbours. Wekesa Soita starts at loose-head prop while Joshua Matasi will be hooking. Ian Mabwa plays at scrum-half while Samuel Oliech, who has not played competitive 15s in almost two years, returns at fly-half.
Outside centre Douglas Kahuri, fullback William Reeves and winger Dominic Osino, will make their first appearance for Quins that is dotted with young and experience.
“I believe we've prepared adequately. The training numbers have been improving over the past 14 weeks. Our intensity in training has also seen a drastic improvement,” said Impala head coach Frank Ndong’.
“We need a lot of composure, control, deception and a brilliantly polished boot this Saturday.”
Homeboyz v. Nakuru (2.30pm); Nondies v. Strathmore (4pm); KCB v. Mwamba (5.30PM); Impala v. Quins (7.30pm).
Catholic University Monks v. technical university of Kenya (12.50pm) RFUEA; Strathmore v Mean Machine (12.50pm)-Impala; Daystar v. USIU (2.30pm) RFUEA; Blak Blad v. Swara (4.10pm) RFUEA.