By: AYUMBA AYODI
Leaders Nakuru, Kabras Sugar and defending champions Kenya Commercial Bank will be hoping to uphold their winning ways when they take on unpredictable opponents in Kenya Cup matches on Saturday.
Homeboyz, Impala and Western Bulls will seek redemption in tricky assignments after a poor start the previous Saturday.
Nakuru, the 2013 and 2014 champions, and Kabras Sugar, who stunned many when they reached the final in their debut last season, will feature in a double-header at the RFUEA grounds.
The Great Rift side takes on 17-time titleholders Nondescripts while Kabras have a trick outing against Kenya Harlequin in matches that will start at 2pm and 4pm respectively.
Four times champions KCB are away to the University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine at the United States International University (USIU-A) grounds.
Nakuru, who made history as the first side outside Nairobi to clinch Kenya Cup in 2013, launched their hunt to recapture the title with a resounding 82-0 thrashing of Blak Blad of Kenyatta University.
Kabras gave Bungoma Sharks a rude welcome to the top flight rugby, crushing the hapless newcomers 87-3 while KCB also thumped debutantes Thika 62-0.
Nakuru had a close encounter with Nondies who they edged out 36-29 in their last Kenya Cup encounter last season.
Nakuru coach Dominique Habimana has made tactical changes to his side, bringing in winger Gramwell Bunyasi in place of Nelson Oyoo, who is due for his debut with Kenya Sevens at Dubai Sevens next week.
Prop Anthony Njoroge, who was injured in their match against Blak Blad, will be rested with Joseph Odero taking up his position.
“We expect a tough battle upfront with a healthy set of forwards from Nondies.
“The current wet conditions too could be a challenge,” said Habimana. “But we are ready for the tussle.”
Quins director of coaching Charles Cardovillis will welcome back scrum-half Lyle Asiligwa, who was injured months ago while featuring for Kenya against Portugal.
“We didn’t play well at number nine and Asiligwa should bring in the experience, and bring in that good link between the forwards and the backs,” said Cardovillis, who was pleased with his forwards in their 29-22 victory against Resolution Impala last weekend.
“Our forwards were marauding and played to instructions but we are working on our executions hence we should attack from both flanks.”
Cardovillis expects a big battle in the forwards against Kabras. “But we have a clue on how their personnel operates.”
Kabras coach Anthony Ogot said he expects victory. “Our foacus is to win and qualify for the semi-finals. We plan to go one better and that is winning the title this season,” said Ogot. Quins lost to Kabras 10-27 last season.
Nondies v Nakuru – (RFUEA ground, 2pm), Kenya Harlequin v Kabras Sugar (RFUEA ground, 4pm), Mean Machine v KCB (USIA, 4pm), Homeboyz v Mwamba (Jamhuri Park), Western Bulls v Strathmore Leos (Kakamega High School, 4pm), Thika v Blak Blad (Thika County Stadium, 4pm), Bungoma Sharks v Impala Saracens (Bungoma High, 4pm)
Mean Machine II v KCB II (USIU, 2pm), Homeboyz II v Impala II (Jamhuri Park, 2pm)
SOURCE: DAILY NATION