It Is That Time Of Year
It is that time of year, when rugby comes at you thick, free flowing and fast, that time of year, when rugby takes you on tour, that time of year, when rugby is served in multiples of seven. It is time for the sevens series.
The second edition of the Safaricom Sevens series is set to kick off this weekend at the Railway Club, for the 27th Edition of the George Mwangi Kabeberi Memorial sevens.
Defending Series champions KCB headline Pool A where they are joined by Western Bulls, Kisumu RFC and Catholic University. A fairly straight forward looking pool for the defending champions, with the Western Bulls set to pose the biggest threat here.
As I had mentioned in the Podcast, KCB parted ways with Head coach Curtis Olago who led them to their first sevens title ever. Last year the Lions only lost 2 of the 30 matches they played in the series. The side is now under former Kenya Sevens captain and great Dennis ‘Iron Man’ Mwanja, it will be interesting to see how they perform under him.
Pool B pits last year’s runners up Quins against Nakuru RFC, Daystar and Mean Machine. The quartered shirts failed to pick up a single leg title last year and will be looking to get this campaign on a winning note.
Nakuru, who are the dominant force in the long version will be looking to finally get the formula right in the short version as they face a tricky looking pool. Daystar were last season’s surprise package, making it to two quarter finals, they’ll fancy their chances in this pool and pick up from where they left off last season.
Machine had a disappointing outing last year, they’ll be out to erase those memories with a strong showing in the opening leg of this season’s circuit.
Pool C sees the Strathmore Leos square it out against last year’s losing finalists here and hosts Mwamba, Nondies and Eldoret.
The Leos have been having great starts in the last two seasons, last year they picked up the opening leg’s title, which was the Dala Sevens. They’ll be looking to keep that run going.
Once again the pressure will be on the hosts, to end their four year drought at the Kabeberi Sevens. They came close last year, losing 26-15 to Homeboyz in the cup final. The black shirts now under the tutelage of Emmanuel Okoth and John Mbai will be looking to go back to the days when they ruled Sevens rugby in this country.
Defending Kabeberi Champions Homeboyz begin their title challenge in a tricky looking Pool D, and to many the Pool of Death. The Djs will battle it out against Impala, Blakblad and Kabras Sugar RFC.
Homeboyz return to the grounds where they picked up their first sevens title, that win here was all they could manage last season en route to finishing impressively in fourth on the overall log. As I mentioned here the Djs look like a really solid outfit this year, with an exciting pool of young players.
They’ll need to show that pedigree immediately as they meet last year’s 5th place finishers on the overall log and fourth place finishers here, Impala RFC. The red shirts also boast of an equally exciting crop of young players, though they will be without Ian Minjire and Sammy Oliech who are with the Saracens, they will still be a formidable side.
Kabras sugar, who fielded a team of mercenaries last year will have the uphill task of matching the achievements made then. The side that was recently promoted to the Kenya Cup alongside Catholic University will be out to cause an upset in this pool.
The likes of Stormers RFC, Masaku RFC, Egerton RFC, Mombasa RFC, KCA and TUK will be in an equally entertaining battle in the second division for a chance to play in the first division. The bulk of these matches will be played at the UoN grounds.
Here are the pools ;
Division I :
Pool A: KCB, Western Bulls, Kisumu, Catholic
Pool B: Kenya Harlequin, Nakuru, Daystar, Machine
Pool C: Strathmore, Mwamba, Nondies, Eldoret
Pool D: Homeboyz, Impala, Blak Blad, Kabras
Division II :
Pool E: Stormers, Masaku, Thika, Bungoma Sharks
Pool F: Egerton, Kiambu RFC, Moi University, Multimedia
Pool G: Mombasa, Bungoma, Brumbies, JKUAT
Pool H: KCA, TUK, Dedan Kimathi, Comras