Impala Grab Lime Light At Floodlit

Not so long ago, I had christened a certain weekend ‘the holy grail of rugby weekends,’ in hind sight, I should have saved that description for this past weekend.

Nato Simiyu on his way for a try against Harlequins

What we saw over the weekend both locally and beyond our borders was probably some of the best rugby we’ll witness in a long time to come.

While the likes of Julian Savea, Francouis Du Preez, Nicolas Sanchez and well, Craig Joubert (hehe) were making sure their respective sides made it to the last four at the World cup, one side literally stole the show back home at the Floodlit.

Before we get to them, the battle for the semi final slots in the schools category saw the new world order carry the day. With Ofafa Jericho beating Nairobi School 18-8, defending champions Laiser Hill making easy pickings of Lenana School running out 29-0 winners.

Moi Forces Academy edged out Alliance High School 8-5, as Mang’u salvaged whatever little pride there was left for the old dogs recording a 21-0 win over Githiga to wrap up the last four.

For their troubles the Wazimba will face Ofafa Jericho, with MFA taking on Laiser Hill for a chance to play for the 2015 Floodies title.

Schools Semi Finals
Mangu v Ofafa 11.00am
Laiser Hills v MFA 12.15pm

In the universities category, the Catholic Monks once again failed to get past USIU in this tournament, losing 27-16 to bow out of the 2015 edition. USIU will now face University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine in the semi finals, after Machine received a bye last weekend.

The other match in this category saw the Strathmore Catulus run over TUK 47-15 to book a semi final slot against defending champions Blak Blad in a replay of the 2013 final.

Universities Semi Finals
Strathmore v Kenyatta University 13.45pm
USIU v University of Nairobi 15.30pm

The clubs category served up some exciting match ups that came with equally surprising results. First up Homeboyz finally got one over Nondies with the Djs running out 29-13 winners. The Djs looked to have worked on their forwards during the off season, the one area they had been falling short in the past.

That coupled with their fluid backs was too much for a Nondies side that looked off the pace. The pick from the bunch though was Charles Akaranga who again reminded us just how quick he is on his feet, leaving the Homeboyz defenders for dead with almost every touch he had on the ball.

Charles Akaranga in action against Homeboyz

This encounter served up as the first installation to a renewed rivalry between the two, now that the Djs moved in to the Jamuhuri grounds. Menengai Cream Homeboyz RFC will now face foes KCB in the semi finals after the Lions blanked Mwamba 28-0 in the last encounter of the day.

With rumours doing rounds that KCB had been left depleted after a couple of players moved to Kabras, the Lions took to the Impala turf under the floodlights as if to send out a message. If this was their intention they indeed did send out a strong message, with a commanding display against a dazzled Mwamba side.

A Darwin Mukidza try right off the start set the ball rolling for the Lions, who never looked back from this point. A Felix Wanjala drop goal and Allan Omuka try in between Mukidza’s brace saw the half time score read 18-0.

The new combinations in the KCB side had settled right in better than their opponents, Bonab Were, Stafford Abeka and James Kilonzo especially giving their opposite men.

The second half saw KCB ease off the momentum but never relented in defence, thwarting every attempt at their line. A Curtis Lilako try and Bonab Were penalty in reverse order saw the bankers claim that comfortable 28-0 result.

The other side of the draw saw the Strathmore Leos finally register a win over Nakuru RFC in a long while in the 15s version, the university side who welcomed back former Kenya U-19 captain Eric Kioko, registered a 17-9 victory in a nail biting encounter.

The Leos looked menacing at the set piece, dominating the much revered Wanyore in the scrums, line outs and ensuing line outs. With this out of the way the Leos had an easier time in the backs where they also held the upper hand. That score margin could have been higher for the Leos who were at times a bit wasteful.

They will have to work on their accuracy before they come up against the in form side so far, Impala in the semi finals.

The Resolution Impala Saracens were as close to perfect as one could get when they took on bitter rivals Kenya Harlequins. It would be wrong to call this match a contest, as that word would have been thrown out the window inside the first 20 minutes.

After threatening in the opening exchanges, Sammy Oliech and Nato Simiyu scored successive tries as the Sarries led 12-0 heading into the second quarter of the game. The two would remain a constant thorn in the Quins defence, especially the latter.

Eric Kerre would make it 17-0 just before the break with Oliech converting for a 19-0 score.

Impala were dominating every facet of play here, their solid display at the forwards coupled with their fluid show at the backs orchestrated by Nato Simiyu was proving to be a handful for the hapless Quins side.

The second period saw Impala pick up from where they left in the first, Robert Aringo combining with Nato Simiyu to score, Oliech on hand to add the extras for a 26-0 score, we had a rout in hand. The once quartered now striped shirts showed some sparks of life, rewarded through a Tony Mutai try.

Those signs were however quickly fizzled out with Kevin Ochami and Samson Onsomu going over in quick succession for a 36-5 score line. The Sarries were not done yet, with Max Muniafu ticking the score above the 40 mark at 43-5. Quins now determined to put some respectability to the score touched down twice through Brian Maina and Mike Simiyu.

Captain Duncan Ekasi landed the final score of the game, with Nato converting for a 48-17 full time result.

Clubs
Pan Africa Strathmore Leos v Resolution Impala Saracens 17.00pm
KCB v Menengai Cream Homeboyz 19.00pm

Looking at what the quarter finals had in store for us, I can’t wait the semi finals really. With no need to shuffle between pitches, the Impala grounds will be almost like a volcano waiting to erupt. Plus at the side lines there will be the issue of the final before the final in the Rugby World cup.

KWISHA…Nimeruka Nje!!

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