Welcome back to the Den!
On the 19th November 2016, one of Kenya rugby’s iconic venues will open it’s doors to the public, for the first time in over a year.
The Lion’s den, home of the 2014/15 Kenya cup champions and defending Enterprise cup champions, KCB Lions, will finally play host to a rugby match for the first time since the 2014/15 season. The den will host the match day 3 encounter between Nakuru and KCB from 2 PM.
The ground couldn’t have asked for a more fitting fixture to draw its curtains after the year’s hiatus. KCB and Nakuru have played some memorable encounters over the years, interestingly it will be the first time the Lions host the Wanyore since the 2010/11 season.
In that fixture the sides played out to an 11 all draw, since then the Lions are win-less against the Wanyore in the league. Having only managed a handful of wins in the pre-season and cup matches. The pressure will be on the Lions to first end that dismal run against Nakuru and give their home turf the grand opening it deserves.
If you ever doubted the weight of this occasion, the sides have left nothing to chance when naming their match day 23s. KCB have called upon their dependable duo of Andrew Amonde and Darwin Mukidza who were away at the Safland sevens last weekend.
On their part, the Wanyore have called upon their long forgotten son Oscar Ouma to the match day 23 for the first time since that Kasarani final in 2014, if I am not mistaken. The only thing missing in this encounter is that we won’t get to see Owilla square it out against his former side.
The last time these two met, KCB edged Nakuru 28-26 in the pre-season’s Floodies at the Impala club. Before that, they two played out a 21-13 result at the NAC grounds in favour of the hosts.
The two have had a similar run in so far in the 2 week old Kenya cup, winning 2 out of 2, KCB however sitting in second spot on 10 points, 1 better than Nakuru who are in 4th, courtesy of bonus points. Nakuru’s latest outing saw them run riot against Machine, beating the Eschuma 41-7 at the UoN grounds.
KCB had to endure a nervy end at the Railway club before sneaking through the Lunar park exit with a 27-24 result.
That this will be a bruiser at the forwards is no secret, every inch of that freshly trimmed grass at the den will be bitterly fought for. With the likes of Coleman Were, Charles Odongo and Edwin Makori in there for Nakuru and Andrew Amonde, Davis Chenge and Oliver Mangeni for KCB it is going to be titanic.
If the last encounter is anything to go by, the battle at the backs will also be as engulfing as the one up front. Edwin Okemwa who bagged the MoTM award in that one was instrumental for the Wanyore, he once again partners with Kelvin Kioko at the centers as they did at Floodies.
In fact the Nakuru back line will only feature one change from the last time they met, Henry Ayah starting at fly half in place of Martin Muita. Geoffrey Ominde will partner Ayah with Gramuel Bunyasi, Cassius Omollo and Leslie Ochieng in the back three.
In contrast only Darwin Mukidza and Edwin Salamba were in the starting XVs at that Floodies semi final against Nakuru. Ken Moseti will partner Michael Wanjala at half back, Brian Omondi and James Kilonzo at the centers with Darwin Mukidza, Edwin Salamba and Collins Wanjala rounding up the back three.
This one looks like a real open contest, just like we like them, with the two benches set to play a pivotal role in this match up. It will be interesting to see where Nakuru will deploy double O, who is a natural back row but can also play out wide in the backs.
Alongside him on the bench is brother Philip Kwame, Sammy Warui, Donald Oluoch, Victor Shigholi and Martin Muita. Felix Ojow, George Asin, Marlin Mukolwe and Stafford Abeka will be the go to guys on the KCB bench.
This one promises to be a cracker in every sense of the word.
Other match day 3 encounters will see Mwamba and Machine travel to Kakamega to face Kabras and Bulls respectively at the Kakamega Show grounds. Nondies will make the short trip down Ngong road and up the super highway to play Blad, with Ngong road hosting two block busters, Impala will be at home to Strathmore, with Quins welcoming Homeboyz.
Western Bulls v Mean Machine -2.00pm, Kakamega Showground.
KCB v Nakuru – 4.00pm, KCB Sports Club.
Kenya Harlequin v Homeboyz – 4.00pm, RFUEA.
Blak Blad V Nondescripts – 4.00pm, Kenyatta University.
Impala v Strathmore Leos – 4.00pm,Impala.
Kabras v Mwamba – 4.15pm, Kakamega Showground.
What a weekend…