Here Come The Sevens!
After what seemed like an eternity, local rugby is back! The sevens caravan that is the Stanbic Bank National series, makes its first stop at the Bull ring for the, Kakamega sevens.
The first leg of the sevens series, usually comes with a lot of excitement and expectation, how will the teams adapt to the shorter version after a gruelling 15s season? Will the traditional sevens giants live up to the expectations, who will be the new kid on the block?
The Kakamega sevens holds a bit more excitement and expectation than most in recent times, it will be the first time, the bedrock of Kenyan rugby hosts a leg of the National sevens series. It will also be the first opportunity for players who will be eyeing a slot in the Shujaa team to put their hands up for selection, I expect the first call ups to be made around the third leg of the series, so there is no time to waste.
All eyes will be on the defending series champions, Menengai Cream Homeboyz as they kick start their campaign for back to back Stanbic Bank National Sevens series title, under new coach Jason Hector. It will be interesting to see how they set up this season.
The Djs will be playing in Pool A, against Resolution Impala, the Menengai Oilers and the hosts, Western Bulls.
Impala will be looking to get back on the sevens horse immediately after what was a torrid campaign last year, with the Menengai Oilers tipped by most to be this season’s surprise package, I am not sure they can be deemed as a surprise anymore.
In pool B, Stanbic Mwamba who gave the DJs a real run to that title, will begin their push for a first sevens series title since 2011, against Nondies, Mean Machine and Kisumu RFC. Kulabu seem like the odd on favourites this season, at least on paper, with their perfect blend of youth and experience, brute, brain and speed, can they translate that onto the pitch?
Nondies have always been one of those teams that can match up to any one, when they decide to play, they will be an exciting team to watch this season, under Willis ‘Fox’ Ojal, they already showed us what they can do in the fifteens, can they replicate or even better that form in the sevens?
Mean Machine have recently acquired the services of Kenya sevens head coach Paul Murunga, knowing how Pau’s teams set up, we can’t wait to watch the Eschuma take on the teams in this pool and beyond, during the series.
Perennial third placed finishers in last year’s series, KCB, will be out to break that ceiling this season, and re discover the form that saw them dominate the sevens scene in 2013 and 14, as they get things under way in Pool C where they will be joined by Kabras Sugar, Kisii and Masinde Muliro University.
The Lions have recently acquired the services of sevens wonder kid Olindi to their ranks, alongside Levy Amunga and Shadon Munoko, add these to the players in their stable and all of a sudden you have a decent looking sevens side, can they realise their full potential?
2017 National sevens series winners, Kabras RFC will be out to get their sevens season going in style backed by a passionate home crowd support. The Sugar daddies were lukewarm in last season’s series and will want to get things underway on the best of notes, with their array of sevens stars, they will definitely be expected to be in the cup battle this Sunday afternoon and the ones that follow.
Ever since their series win in 2015, Top Fry Nakuru have always had a cup final or two in them, it has always been a question of when. With a new vibrant young squad, will they keep this form of being in and around the title race or will they roll up their sleeves and get in the thick of things.
They are joined in Pool D by a limping Kenya Harlequins, Strathmore Leos and Egerton Wasps, in a pool that looks like a straightforward affair, but with sevens anything is possible.
I have little doubt that Kakamega will get the Stanbic Bank National Sevens caravan off to a great start, as it snakes its way through the country in the next two months.
Let’s compare notes on Monday, shall we? Otherwise do enjoy your rugby weekend!
KWISHA… Nimeruka Nje!!!