Driftwood 7s Pool A Preview
The Sevens circuit resumes this weekend after a week’s hiatus, at the County of Mombasa for the 25th edition of the Driftwood sevens.
So far the series has been dominated by the defending champions who have so far accumulated a perfect 44 points after picking up the Kabeberi and Dala titles. The Lions are followed on the overall log by Homeboyz on 36 points after finishing third in Kabeberi and second in Kisumu.
Quins on 29 points, Strathmore on 28 and Impala on 28 wrap up the top five after two legs. Like I had mentioned in the podcast preview, I expect these five to go on and battle for the overall title. The Driftwood leg will be critical not only to the 5 but also to the chasing pack with Nakuru, the Catholic Monks, Nondies, Western Bulls and Mwamba all looking to make up some valuable ground.
The battle for the title will be a lot more clearer after Sunday, with most mentioning that it is KCB’s to lose after that strong start. I wouldn’t be too quick to join that band wagon as we have seen the series turn on it’s head many times. And the sides seem to be closing the gap on the series leaders.
I expect to see a better showing across the board, with a week to work on any weaknesses and the sides now having settled into the sevens rhythm. The weather and under foot conditions are also is expected to be more conducive for free flowing rugby at the coast.
Also expect to see full strength squads in Mombasa meaning that the clubs will have the luxury of picking their national sevens players, for those who hadn’t been able to over the first two legs.
Back to back Driftwood champions KCB headline Pool A where they are joined by Quins, the Catholic Monks and KCA.
The Lions will know that they will be walking with the bull’s eye on their backs as everyone would want to bring an end to the impressive run they have been on so far. The green shirts have so far gone 12 games without losing this season, when you add that to what they achieved last season, the bankers have only lost two out of 42 matches.
The green shirts made a slow start to this season, struggling in the opening day of the Kabeberi leg but picking things up on Day 2 and have been getting better since. Ken Moseti has been at the centre of everything good from this side whether in defence or attack, the diminutive play maker will again be key for his side.
Complimented by the likes of Darwin Mukidza, Jacob Ojee, Fabian Olando, Oliver Mang’eni, Philip Wamae, Edwin Salamba and most probably now Andrew Amonde, the Lion’s outfit is going to be a tough one.
Quins have so far blown hot and cold, losing in the Final at Kabeberi before bowing out at the Plate Semi final in Kisumu. The quartered shirts will be looking to end their trophy drought in sevens having finished last season without picking up any leg title. The return of Patrice Agunda and possibly Felix Ayange should go a long way in strengthening the side.
With the acquisition of Kevin ‘Hawk’ Umbuge, the side has added much needed grit especially going forward. It will be interesting to see whether the side employs their counter to the ‘chokesha yeye’ tactic where they don’t commit bodies to the maul.
Other than KCB, the other side that has been making headlines is the Catholic University Monks. A plate final loss in Kabeberi and a Bowl title in Dala, sees the side in seventh on 20 points ahead of seasoned sides like Mwamba, Western Bulls and Nondies.
Everyone will be out to see whether the Monks can keep on ruffling the big boys feathers at the coast. Simon Jawichre’s charges have been impressive especially in defence and their execution of chances created.
The likes of Foster Arens, Rogers Mokua, Robert Owino, James Ochieng, Kilonzo and Caleb Kiprotich have been vital to the Monks success. The side will be looking for another impressive run and probably looking to claim the scalps of Quins and KCB to add to the ones they have already claimed.
The Dala Division II runners up KCA complete the Pool A line up. The Thika road university students will be making their first appearance in the first division this season and will be looking to remain here for the Prinsloo leg.
They will however have their work cut out for them in this pool where they will square it out against next door neighbours KCB, sevens heavy weights Quins and the new impressive Monks.
The highlight match from this pool is set to be the clash between KCB and Quins, which is expected to decide who tops this pool. The two have met twice so far this season, KCB winning on both occassions, 24-0 in Nairobi to pick the Kabeberi titleand 10-0 in Kisumu to proceed to the Semi finals.
The quartered shirts have been narrowing that gap between them and the green shirts. Will it be time for the Lion’s impressive run to be brought to a screeching halt at the hands of the Lunch bars?
Also watch out for the university derby between KCA and the Monks, the two sides know each other quite well. KCA will be looking to return the Monks back to reality as the two are expected to battle for third and fourth place.
Quins will have a few scores to settle with the Monks, the two previously meeting at the quarter finals in Kabeberi. Though Quins did eventually win 14-5, they were given a real run for their lunch bars by the Monks.
Pool A Fixtures : 10:00 am – KCB vs KCA, 10:18 am – Quins vs Catholic. 12:24 pm- KCB vs Catholic, 12:42 pm – Quins vs KCA, 2:48 pm – Catholic vs KCA, 4:00 pm – KCB vs Quins.
Catch the Pool B preview here tomorrow….