Round 3, Fight!
After a week’s break the 2015 National sevens circuit is back with round 3, the Driftwood sevens in the coastal city of Mombasa.
There is always something special about the third round of the series, kind of like the start of the final lap in a race. This year should be no different, with the sides now well rested, re buffed and refined, the action at the coast is expected to be mind numbing.
Heading into round 3, the Kenya Harlequins lead the overall log on 41 points, closely followed by Top Fry Nakuru on 35 points, the two having won the Christie and Dala legs respectively. Defending series champions KCB are in third on 32 points, with Strathmore on 29 points, Mwamba RFC wrap up the top five on 27 points.
These five hold a realistic chance of lifting this year’s series title, they will have no room for slip ups in Mombasa.
Fresh from picking up their first ever sevens title, the 2015 Dala sevens champions Nakuru RFC find themselves in the Pool of death. Where they will square it out against Mwamba, Kabras and Comras for the two tickets to the cup competition.
Nakuru have been anchored by a solid defence and a very effective attack so far, that has seen them win the Plate at Christies and Cup in Kisumu. This will probably be their sternest test yet, with Kabras and Mwamba all packing serious attacks.
Captain Geoffrey Ominde has been impressive in pulling the strings for the Wanyore, and will be vital for the side at the coast, alongside Philip Kwame, Godfrey Mbeya and Charles Odhiambo.
Mwamba RFC have had a hot, cold and largely unlucky run so far, resulting in a 3rd place finish at Christies and a Plate semi final exit in Kisumu. Kulabu will be looking to steady the ship in Mombasa with a possible boost from their more experienced faces, their charge for the series might have just began.
Kabras has been the one side, apart from Homeboyz that has so far failed to live up to expectations. A Plate semi final and a Bowl title a far cry from what this talented Sugar millers side is capable of. They return to a tournament that saw them rise to fame a few years back, with the hope of finally realizing their potential.
Promoted side COMRAS will most probably be in over their heads in this pool, but should not be under estimated. The lessons they will acquire here will be vital for the young charges going forward.
Series leaders Kenya Harlequins, find themselves pitted against fierce rivals Nondies, Western Bulls and the Catholic Monks.
Back to back cup final appearances have seen the quartered shirts emerge as strong favourites to lift the 2015 series. The side has managed to boss the breakdown area this far thanks to the exploits of Willy Ambaka, Patrice Agunda and Frank Wanyama, their efforts coupled by a structured defence and rampant attack.
Quins have so far managed to make it to the top three try scoring sides in the two legs, raking in a total of 41 tries that sees them sit third on the overall try scoring list. The side should have little problem navigating through this pool.
Nondies have by far been this season’s surprise package, after seasons of mediocrity the red lion finally looks to have awoken. A fourth place finish in Nairobi followed by a Plate semi final exit in Kisumu sees the rangers in 6th spot on 25 points.
With a probable return of Oscar Dennis, Charles Kanyi and James Evans who all sat out Dala, expect a real charge from the red lion at coast.
It has been a cold set of outings for the Western Bulls, with two Bowl final losses to show for so far. The Echulusi sit in 10th on 14 points, will they finally break into the cup in Mombasa? It doesn’t look impossible.
The Monks return to the top flight after lifting the division 2 title in Dala, the Catholic University students will be out to make a statement here and should be approached with a load of caution.
This pool serves us with one of those battles we all look forward to, as it pits the Pan Africa Strathmore Leos against the Menengai Cream Homeboyz RFC. They will be joined by Blakblad RFC and Kisii RFC.
The Leos have been getting better with each leg so far, losing the Plate final in Nairobi, then finishing third in Kisumu and are currently third on the overall log on 29 points. The Leos have been exceptional going forward, evidence of that found on the try scoring charts where they lead with 51 tries.
A bit more solidity in defence and Strathmore will be prime candidates for not only the Driftwood, but the series title.
The Djs have had a torrid time so far, the Bowl title at the Christie sevens and a Plate final loss in Dala sees last year’s series runners up in 8th spot on 20 points. The defending Driftwood champions will be hoping they get their mojo back down at the coast.
Blakblad have so far had back to back Bowl semi final exits, though a place in the cup from this pool looks far fetched the side will definitely be looking to go one better at the weekend.
Kisii RFC have been really impressive so far, earning promotion to the top flight after the Christie sevens then narrowly losing the Bowl final in Kisumu. The side will be looking to further impress here and will probably be looking at Blakblad as a possible scalp. Their encounter against the DJs will also be one to look out for.
The Resolution Impala Saracens headline this one where they are joined by KCB, Daystar and Kisumu RFC.
The Sarries have managed to do most of the things right so far, however falling when it mattered most. A Plate semi final exit at Christies followed by a fourth place finish in Dala sees the side in seventh spot on 23 points.
The probable return of Sammy Oliech and Robert Aringo might just be what this Impala side needs to keep their charge going through out the two days. Alongside Ian Minjire, Samson Onsomu, Innocent and Nato Simiyu this Impala side looks real menacing.
The season’s false starters so far KCB will have one last shot at defending their series title. You get the feeling that it is all or nothing for the Lions, if they fail to win the Cup title in Driftwood then they might as well kiss the series goodbye.
A Cup final loss and a Plate title has seen the Lions fire way below the high standards they have set in the last two years. Luckily for the Lions they are still inside the title race and will have to be in top condition in Mombasa.
The imminent return of Jacob Ojee, Darwin Mukidza and Oliver Mang’eni coupled with the return to full fitness of Ian Indimuli should bring the bite back to this KCB side. They however have to first get over one of their bogey sides in Impala.
Daystar and Kisumu will probably be looking past this pool in their encounter, with the two sides separated by four points on the overall log. The Falcons on 10 points in 12th place, Kisumu in 11th on 6 points.
From what I have seen in the last two legs, don’t be surprised if we get the cup winner from outside the current top five on the log. It promises to be an action packed weekend of top notch rugby at the Mbaraki Sports Club.