Enterprise Cup Enters Quarter Final Stage

This is usually my favourite time of the year, for one simple reason, knock out rugby. There’s something a knock out competition brings that no other format can offer, all that matters in these matches is the 80 minutes, nothing more, nothing less.

Perfect example last weekend Impala were stretched all the way against Mombasa in the pre quarter final match at the MSC, just a fortnight after running over the same opponent in a league fixture. Such is the magic of knock out rugby.

This format also has a way of coming up with some mouth-watering fixtures as is evidenced by this weekend’s Enterprise Cup quarter finals. These fixtures then usually come up with some unexpected results.

Mwamba vs Impala (4PM, UoN)

Defending champions Mwamba will host Impala at the UoN grounds in a replay of one of last year’s quarter finals. Both sides just from a disappointing league season and will be looking to make an impression in the cup.

Impala, as mentioned earlier had to battle past a resilient Mombasa side 24-5 to book this quarter final slot. The side will be looking forward to this encounter as it brings with it a chance at redemption after suffering a 65-19 loss to the same opponent last year. The red shirts will be without Duncan Mwangi and Robert Aringo who are on national duty.

Collo in action against Impala last year (Photo : Kulabu)

Collo in action against Impala last year (Photo : Kulabu)

Kulabu will be looking to get their title defence to a flying start with the odds on their side, they will be a confident lot going into this one. Last time out, Collo playing at back row ripped Impala to shreds, this time they will be without the Kenya sevens vice captain, but will be one of the few sides that will enjoy an almost full squad to pick from.

The black shirts have 4 players on national duty with the sevens side. The latest meeting between these two ended in a 24-0 win for the black shirts. The winner here will either meet KCB or Quins in the semi-finals.

Nakuru vs Homeboyz (4PM, NAC)

Last year’s runners up Nakuru will play host to the Homeboyz at their Suguta valley backyard. These two enjoyed great returns from the league with Nakuru’s title defence well on course and Homeboyz enjoying their best season in the top flight.

The Djs had to get over a stubborn Blak blad side in their pre qualifier, eventually getting a 35-13 result to book this date. Last year, the side was knocked out at the quarter final stage and will be looking to go one step further. They will however have their work cut out for them in the Suguta Valley as they travel without five of their regulars who are on national duty. The side will have to be at their absolute best to knock out the Wanyore.

Action from Homeboyz vs Nakuru - Photo James Wahome

Action from Homeboyz vs Nakuru – Photo James Wahome

Nakuru will be firm favourites in this one as they look to go all the way this year and probably claim the league and cup double. The Wanyore will be without two of their regulars with Okombe and Owilla doing duty in South Africa. The side will be looking for a repeat of their 64-0 win against this opponent in the league.

Nondies vs Strathmore (4PM, Jamuhuri grounds)

The most successful side in this competition and last year’s semi-finalists, Nondies will host Strathmore at the Jamuhuri grounds, last year these two met at the same stage.

Nondies will be looking to this competition to redeem their 15s season which started with so much promise. They were knocked out at the Semi-final stage last year by the eventual winners Mwamba and will be working to pick up title number 26 this year.

The white shirts will have an almost full house with only the Kangethe twins and Biko missing, the three have not been used much this season and the side should hold without them.

The Leos were 32-10 winners in the pre qualifiers against Machine to book this slot. The side will be gunning for their first cup win to do that they have to get past this tough fixture to keep that dream alive. The side will be without three players but should have enough quality to cover.

These two always play out some great closely fought out encounters, in that quarter final, Nondies were 23-18 winners. Their latest meeting in the league saw the Leos sneak away with a 20-17 win, this one promises to be another exciting encounter.

KCB vs Quins (4PM, Lion’s Den)

The pick of the lot, for more reasons than one will see KCB host Quins at the Lion’s den in Ruaraka. This match will double up as Anthony Ochino’s testimonial. The sides have both enjoyed strong runs in the league and are set to meet in the play offs, thus this should act as a teaser of sorts.

Action from these two in their league encounter (Photo: James Wahome)

Action from these two in their league encounter (Photo: James Wahome)

The hosts will be charged up for this one, as they always are when it’s the quartered shirts on the opposite side, but this time you feel they will be playing for much more. The side which was knocked out in the semi-finals last year have an extra reason to not only go for the cup but also the double.

The Lions will be without seven of their players who will be on duty in the sevens and fifteens sides. This should however cause Curtis Olago little worry as he should have the depth and he probably will look at his opposite number and appreciate the fact that it could have been worse. He is also set give Allan Omuka a chance to face his former side for the first time since he made the switch.

Many had written off Quins in this competition, what with up to 13 players missing last weekend credit was given for even honouring their pre qualifier against the Bulls. They did not only honour the fixture but steam rolled past the visitors 44-20 to book this berth.

Enos Otieno, who will not be on officiating duty this weekend, will know that this is a much tougher test for his depleted squad. The sleeves to the quartered shirts are usually rolled up whenever they meet the lions and this being the cup, the side will give it a proper go despite their handicap.

These two don’t know how to play out a dull encounter as we have seen over the years, this one will probably be up there with the best of them. The last time these two met at this venue in the league, KCB snatched a 30-28 win in a match of the season contender.

Predictions

Mwamba +20 over Impala

Nakuru +30 over Homeboyz

Strathmore +3 over Nondies

KCB +15 over Quins

 

Mwamba Cup Division I & II

The lower tier Mwamba cups will play out their rounds of 16, defending Mwamba Cup champions the KCB cubs will begin their title defence at home to Blak Blad II. Other fixtures will see Quins II host bitter rivals Nondies II, with Mwamba II taking on Strathmore II.

In the second division, defending champions JKUAT will host USIU as Masaku take on TUK at the Machakos Golf club, with the Stormers hosting Impala III. Three sides have already qualified for the quarter finals having benefited from walk overs.

Mwamba Cup Div I

KCB II vs Blak Blad II 2pm KCB Sports Club
Egerton vs Nakuru II 2pm Egerton Uni
Quins II vs Nondies II 2pm RFUEA
Daystar vs Thika 3pm Daystar Athi River
Impala II vs Western Bulls II 2pm Impala Club
Mwamba II vs Strathmore II 2pm UON
Eldoret vs NYTA 4pm Eldoret Sports Club
Catholic vs Machine II 2pm Catholic Uni

MwambaCup Div II

JKUAT vs USIU (3pm, JKUAT Juja)
Masaku vs TUK (3pm, Machakos Club)
TUM vs Spartans (4pm, Khamisi Sec)
Stormers vs Impala III (3pm)
Moi Uni vs Shieywe RFC (3pm, Moi Uni)

KWISHA…Nimeruka Nje!!!

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