Driftwood 7s Pool D Preview
We round up our Division 1 previews with a look at a potentially tricky Pool D, which brings together Impala, Strathmore, Daystar and Kabras Sugar RFC.
Impala have been looking impressive over the first two legs, the gazelles currently occupying 5th spot on the overall log tied on 28 points with 4th placed Strathmore. The Ngong road side picked up the Plate title in Nairobi, following this up with a 4th place finish in Dala.
The side will be boosted by the return of Sammy Oliech who is fresh from playing in the Premiership Sevens with the Saracens and Sam Onsomu who should be back from injury. They will however be without the versatile George Okowa who sustained an injury in Dala, and Ian Minjire who was injured while playing for the Saracens.
Apart from that, the red shirts will probably remain unchanged with Lameck Dunde, Leon Adongo, Richard Sidindi and Nato Simiyu at the core of the side. They will come up against familiar opposition having already met two of the three sides in previous legs.
They have met Strathmore twice so far, losing the first encounter 31-7 in the quarter finals at Kabeberi, before winning their Pool D encounter in Dala 14-12. Impala also beat Kabras 19-12 in the Dala, having beaten the sugar millers 12-7 in Nairobi.
The side will be out to get one over the two as well as Daystar as they aim to improve on their showing in Kisumu.
Strathmore have had a similar run of fortune as their Pool D counter parts Impala, having finished fourth in Kabeberi then winning then Plate title in Dala. As mentioned earlier the sides are tied on points, it will be a cause of concern to the Leos that they seem to be on the decline after the first two legs.
The Leos will probably be welcoming the Tony duo of Tony Onyango and Tony Owuor, alongside Billy the Kid Odhiambo and Mike Wanjala. Those names alone should be enough to cause problems to any side, now add to those the likes of Omondi Owino, Adrian Opondo, Humphrey Owuor, Churchill Ooko and Cyprian Kuto and you have a real formidable Leos side.
They will be out to avenge that narrow 14-12 loss to Impala under the heavy rain in Kisumu, as they go for a second win over Kabras after beating them 33-12 in Kisumu.
Daystar earned this slot after the Egerton Wasps pulled out of the Driftwood leg, the Falcons were supposed to play in the second division after being relegated in Kisumu.
They will be thanking their lucky stars and out to prove that they deserve this spot in what loks like a tough pool for the side. After making it to two quarter finals last season, Daystar have so far reached the bowl final in Kabeberi. Then bowing out at the Shield semi finals in Dala, their best result in the lake side city a 19 all draw against the side they are replacing in this pool, Egerton.
The Falcons will be out for a better run in the coast and looking to avoid relegation to the dog fight that is the second division.
Kabras sugar will be returning to the grounds where they finished fourth last year, though this time round they will be without the services of most of the players they had then. The sugar millers have been unlucky in many cases so far, a Shield semi final in Kabeberi followed by the Shield title in Dala sees them go into this tournament in 15th on 4 points and are the side ranked last in Mombasa.
They will be out for a strong showing at the coast to finally make a statement like they did here last year. The encounter against Impala will probably be one they will be looking forward to, after running the gazelles close on two occasions, will it be time for them to finally get the win over the gazelles?
The highlight match in this pool will definitely be the encounter between Impala and Starthmore, the two sides again meeting in the last match on Day 1 like they did in Kisumu, this time round we don’t expect rain to crash the party.
As I mentioned earlier the match between Kabras and Impala also promises to be a cracker, going by their previous meetings this season.
Fixtures : 11:48 am – Impala vs Daystar, 12:06 pm – Strathmore vs Kabras, 2:12 pm – Impala vs Kabras, 12:30 pm – Strathmore vs Daystar, 3:42 pm – Daystar vs Kabras, 4:54 pm – Impala vs Strathmore.
It promises to be a bruising battle under the sun at the coast as sides scramble for valuable points in the series. In case you missed any instalments in this series, you can catch them here, Pool A, Pool B and Pool C.