Leaders Kabras Sugar's and Nondescripts' perfect start to the Kenya Cup rugby league season faces a stern test as they come up against tricky opponents in the third leg on Saturday.
Kabras Sugar welcome back internationals - winger Felix Ayange and open-side flanker George Nyambua - as they host Nakuru at the ASK Showground in Kakamega.
Nondescripts, who stunned champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 27-22 last weekend, take on newcomers Menengai Oilers at Impala Sports Club. There will be a double header at Impala where hosts Impala Saracens face wounded Strathmore Leos.
Blak Blad host Machine in the varsity derby at Kenyatta University ground while KCB hope to bounce back from Nondies' defeat for victory against Mwamba at the Den in Ruaraka.
Kabras head coach, South African Henley du Plessis Du Plessis, also expects international prop Ephraim Oduor back but he will start from the bench as the Kenya Cup gathers momentum.
Homeboyz hope to uphold their winning form against Kenya Harlequins, who are still smarting from Menengai Oilers defeat, at the RFUEA ground.
Back in Kakamega, Ayange and Nyambua will replace Charlton Mokua and Malik Habil while Oduor replaces Bramwel Mayaka on the bench.
The returning Kabras trio were part of the Kenya Simbas squad that had an unsuccessful campaign at the 2019 Rugby World Cup Repechage qualifier in France.
Kabras have had a strong start, downing varsity sides Mean Machine from the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad 41-0 and 37-10 respectively.
“I am enjoying my stay with some good rugby in Kenya,” said Du Plessis, who joined the team in August this year. “I have blended into the system well and I am glad the changes that I have effected in terms of play are taking shape.”
Du Plessis said he is happy with their strong start but cautioned his charges that tougher matches lie ahead.
“The most important thing is for them to keep focus. They need to continue gaining space against their opponents and exploit it to the maximum,” said Du Plessis.
Nakuru head coach Mitch Ocholla is ready for Kabras' challenge, having made only one change to his squad, bringing in fly-half Collins Onyango for Simon Muriuki, who has personal commitments.
The last time Nakuru beat Kabras Sugar was during the 2016/2017 season where they won 19-17 in Kakamega but the sugar men revenged with a 30-6 humiliation in the 2017/2018 season in Kakamega.
Nakuru started well, beating Strathmore Leos 20-15 before going down to Impala 26-22.
“We didn’t take our chances against Impala but I am still happy the youngsters are learning the ropes fast,” said Ocholla.
Nondies coach Willis Ojal has effected two changes to his squad that stunned KCB, starting Ivan Chebo at fullback with Moses Begi dropping to the bench. Saidi Sumba moves to the bench, replacing Jeremy Matata.
“Our focus is still on team work that has carried us through and build on it,” said Ojal.
Kenya Cup fixtures
Nondies v Menengai Oilers (2pm) Impala; Impala v Strathmore (4pm) Impala; Blak Blad v Machine (4pm)Kenyatta; KCB v Mwamba (4pm) Ruaraka; Kabras v Nakuru (4pm) Kakamega; Homeboyz v Harlequin (4pm) RFUEA