5 Talking Points From The 2019 Dala 7s
I am quickly running out of superlatives to describe these rugby weekends at the Stanbic Sevens Series, but I can safely say that the 2019 Dala sevens in Kisumu, has been by far the best one so far, I doubt that it can get any better.
There is something about Kisumu, that is hard to replicate, or maybe it is just the weather, whatever it is, they are doing something right at Dala. So on we go to the rugby…
1. Welcome Back Quins – The Kenya Harlequins had a very tough start to the 2019 sevens series and when they got relegated to the second division after Kabeberi. Most thought that it was the last time they would play in the first division this year, some even thought that they would not bother to travel to Kisumu.
But a few tweaks (rather a significant overhaul of the squad) and in true Quin character, they battled to the overall title and with that a ticket back to the first division. It was a true battle for promotion, as Quins were given a real run for their money especially against Mombasa and AP.
2. This KCB side – Three legs down and it is starting to look like the Lions will run away with this year’s Stanbic National Sevens Series title. What has been impressive to see, is the depth the side has, eight players from the squad that lifted the Kakamega cup, were in the Kisumu squad. They made five changes to the Kababeri squad, with Dennis Mwanja having the luxury to call upon the likes of Andrew Amonde and Jacob Ojee to Dala.
It is still premature to definitely call the race to the title, with the likes of Menengai Oilers, Nakuru, Mwamba and Homeboyz all in with a chance. It will however take something special to outmuscle the series title from this KCB side.
3. The Emergence of a new order – As always with sevens rugby, there is usually a team or two that come to disrupt the status quo, this series has been no different.
First up are the Northern Suburb Cubs, who after earning promotion to the first division in Kakamega, have made two cup quarter finals in the two tournaments they have played, dropping out at the 5th place semi finals on both occasions. In Meru they beat Strathmore and Blak blad to make it to the cup quarter finals.
In Kisumu, the cubs ran Impala close, before losing 12-14, they went on to beat hosts Kisumu RFC to set up a winner take all encounter against Stanbic Mwamba. A game they won 12-7, to see them progress to the Cup competition and relegate Kulabu to the Challenge trophy.
The Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology started off at their home ground in Kakamega, where they upset local heros Kabras 24-5, on their way to the Cup quarter finals. They were at it again in Meru as they saw off Machine and the CUEA Monks to make it to the Cup draw. In Kisumu they convincingly beat Strathmore and Western Bulls to make it three out of three cup quarter finals.
Like the cubs, they have not made it past the 5th place semi finals, but I expect one of them to break that barrier, soon.
It is always great to see the underdogs not only punching above their weight, but also making some solid hits and earning their right at the big boys table.
4. The Menengai Oilers – I might have added the Oilers to point three above, but I don’t think they fit into the tag of ‘underdog,’ anymore. By any standard the Oilers are now big boys in the game.
After a false start to the series in Kakamega, the Oilers regathered to make it to back to back cup finals and although they have suffered heavy defeats in both those finals, they have played some brilliant rugby in the run up to those finals.
I hope that these losses will not dampen the spirits in the camp, rather motivate them to go out and try again, that first title win is coming and it might be closer than they think, Prinsloo maybe?
In the same breath, I should also mention Nakuru RFC who have fallen to the Oilers twice now at the Cup semi final stage, if we are to get a third different team winning a leg of the series, I would place my bet on one of these two.
5. The Sherehe – That is it, that is the whole point, from the Tusker after party, to the clubs around the city, iliweza!
Up next, Prinsloo.
KWISHA… Nimeruka Nje!!!