Wanyore’s Weekend Of Reckoning
After 4 grueling rounds of the 2015 National Sevens Circuit, this weekend, the sevens caravan returns to where it started, for it’s final stop, at the George Mwangi Kabeberi Memorial Sevens. With one side firmly on the spot, Top Fry Nakuru RFC.
Perched at the top of the series standings on 76 points, the Wanyore are on course for their first ever Sevens series title. They are the only side with their fate firmly in their hands, all they have to do is hit the 88 point mark this weekend and they will be biting on the series title.
88 points means that the Wanyore are only after 12 points, the equivalent of a place in the Plate final. As far as permutations go, only the Kenya Harlequins and the Pan Africa Strathmore Leos can realistically spoil Nakuru’s party. Mathematically though that list grows to 4, with Mwamba and KCB jumping in.
For either Quins or Leos to snatch the series title from Nakuru’s grip, they will have to go all the way and lift the 2015 Kabeberi title. All the while hoping Nakuru don’t make it past the Plate semi final, for Strathmore they will have to hope that they don’t meet Quins in the cup final if they are to win it.
Enough of the math, the draw for the 2015 George Mwangi Kabeberi Memorial Sevens, looks something like this :
Fresh from lifting their first ever Prinsloo title, Top Fry Nakuru RFC headline Pool A, where they will kick off their campaign for their 3rd title. They are joined by KCB, Blakblad and TUK.
Since picking up the Plate title at the Christie 7s, Nakuru have had 3 appearances in the cup final, winning two of those. In what has been described as the most competitive series to date, the Wanyore have shown an impressive run of consistency, that has been down to their great team work.
With the squad set to remain as was in their backyard, the Wanyore look like outright favourites to grab top spot here.
Interesting that this will be the first meeting between KCB and Nakuru, the two managing to avoid each other in the 4 legs so far. This one will be a hand over of sorts as the outgoing series champions take on the expected incoming champions.
Interesting to note the dominance of these two sides, last year the Wanyore won the 15s double with KCB picking up the sevens series. This year if Nakuru lift the sevens title, it will be a complete opposite of last season with the Lions already having won the 15s double.
If there is one club that wants to get the sevens season done and dusted, it must be KCB. It has been a tough season of Plates and injuries for the side. In Nakuru, they bowed out at the Plate semi finals, taking their series tally to 55 points in 5th spot, 21 points behind the leaders. To add to their misery they lost Darwin Mukidza and skipper Philip Wamae to injury.
Despite those set backs expect the Lions to give it one last push and end the series on a high. The university show down between newly promoted TUK and Blakblad will be one to watch out for.
Losing finalists in Nakuru, Menengai Cream Homeboyz RFC are top seeds in a tough looking Pool B, where they are joined by Mwamba, Western Bulls and JKUAT.
The DJs have been on a steady improving slope, remember last weekend when I mentioned that I expect them in the cup final in Nakuru if they held that curve? Well they did exactly that.
A narrow 7-5 loss saw the Djs lose out on the cup and sponsor bragging rights in Nakuru. Their tally of 54 points means that they are completely out of the race for the series title, but that doesn’t mean that they will let the Kabeberi title go.
This weekend’s hosts, the 2015 Driftwood champions, Mwamba. Saw their series title hopes all but fade away in Nakuru, where after being blanked 19-0 be Kabras in the opening match, bowed out at the Plate semi finals to take their season’s tally to 59 points.
The 6 time Kabeberi champions will be looking to end this series as they did the last, with the cup title.
The 2015 Prinsloo 7s Bowl champions, Western Bulls will be looking to get back into the cup from this pool, they should be taken serious contenders here and potential party spoilers for the top two sides in this pool.
JKUAT will probably be looking to hold on to Division 1 status from here.
Professional 3rd place finishers the Strathmore Leos fittingly headline the third Pool at the weekend, where they are once again joined by fellow series hopefuls Kenya Harlequins, Total Nondies and the impressive Makueni.
Ever since they lost the Plate Final at the Christie sevens, the Leos have finished 3rd in Kisumu, Mombasa and last weekend in Nakuru. That run seeing the Strathmore University students lie in, yes you guessed it third, on 63 points.
Somehow the Leos don’t seem to have what it takes to get to a cup final, if they are to lift the 2015 series title, they will have to get whatever that is they are missing and lift their second Kabeberi title.
This will be the second time that Quins and Strath find themselves in the same pool. In Nakuru Quins came out on top with a 12-0 result. With the two going for the series here, expect the battle for top spot to be a real bruising one.
Quins are in second place on the series on 65 points and will be back to the grounds where they lifted the Christie title a little over a month ago, hoping to replicate that form.
Willie Ambaka will probably be unavailable for this one as he should be heading back to South Africa. That makes Quins’ task be a bit tougher, but with the return of Dennis Muhanji, they should be able to navigate through this Pool and still stand as favourites to lift the main cup.
Nondies have been on a scary nose dive, ever since they finished in fourth at the Christie sevens, they bowed out at the Plate Semis in Dala before hitting rock bottom in Mombasa with the Shield title. They had a rejuvination of sorts in Nakuru where they bowed out at the Bowl semis. The Rangers are in 9th spot on 33 points and will be out to finish the series, same way they kicked it off with a hope of salvaging some pride.
Makueni RFC were my stand out team in Nakuru, the side doing well to hold on to first division status by beating Kisumu in the Shield Semi final and narrowly losing the Bowl 19-17 to the Monks. They will be looking to replicate that showing here, though they will be in out of their depth in this pool.
Fourth place finishers in Nakuru, the Resolution Impala Saracens headline this Pool where they are joined by Kabras Sugar, Kisii and the Catholic Monks.
The Sarries were real impressive in Nakuru, led by stalwart Innocent Namcos Simiyu, the side looked explosive and were unfortunate not to make the cup final. Last year they made it to the cup final of the last leg of the series, will they do the same this year?
The addition of Samuel Motari and Brian Nyikuli saw this Impala side spark into life, linking up with the likes of Richard Sidindi and Samson Onsomu to see off the likes of Nakuru and Mwamba at the Prinsloo sevens. A similar showing here should see the side, currently in 7th spot on 50 points make a real charge for the cup.
At the end of Day one in Nakuru, Kabras looked like the hot favourites for the cup in Prinsloo. This was before meeting the hosts who edged them out 15-12 in the cup quarter final. They however picked themselves up to see off KCB and Quins to lift the Plate title.
It was the first time we actually saw what this Kabras side was capable of, after several false starts. Another showing here should see the side make a strong finish to the series. They are currently in 8th position on 39 points.
Kisii have by a mile been the side of the series, if there is a spirit award then it is definitely theirs. Having earned promotion after the Christie sevens they have rubbed shoulders with the big boys since and stood up to be counted. They will be out to wrap up an impressive season o a high as they hunt for Kenya cup promotion in the 15s.
The Monks were last season’s Kisii RFC, and though they failed to impress this year, they will be looking to hold on to top flight status here.
All this while Kisumu, Machine, Masaku, Daystar, KCA and Egerton will be doing battle for the two slots to the top flight next season in Division 2.
Pool E: Kisumu, Brumbies, MKU Nairobi, Mwamba II
Pool F: MKU Thika, Bungoma, Kiambu, Sony
Pool G: KCA, Eastlanders, Kericho, Dagoretti Bulldogs
Pool H: Comras, Daystar , Stormers, Chemelil
Pool I: Masaku, Egerton, KPA Eldoret, Muranga
Pool J: Masinde Muliro, Mean Machine, Ngong
It is bound to be a cracking end to the sevens season, all eyes will be on Nakuru RFC, but don’t be surprised if things take a wicked turn as they have over the last 4 legs. Tuonane Kabeberi!