The UAP Kifaru were 15-0 winners against the Nguvu Papa on the final weekend of the Bamburi Super series. That win came with three things for the side, sweet revenge against a side they had painfully lost to on Match day 2, the title of ‘The 2014 Bamburi Rugby Super Series Champions’ and a place in the history books.
It was the perfect ending to what has been fittingly referred to as a fairy tale run, the rugby equivalent of a Cinderella story. Their’s is a story that shows just how far sheer determination can get you.
The final started off on a cagey note, with either side looking for a footing early on. Haroun Lubisia would however break the deadlock with a trade mark drop goal to give his side a 3-0 lead. The match would remain a close contest, the Papa guilty of letting some great chances slip away.
Kifaru were great in defence and very disciplined around the set pieces thus able to keep the Papa at bay. Elly Mukaizi was immense in the line out, as he was in the break down, along side captain Rocky Aguko, Kevin Gacheru, Martin Tubula and Andrew Chogo.
The teams would go into the break with Kifaru holding a 3-0 advantage on the score board. They would definitely be the happier of the two sides, having managed to keep the lacklustre Papa side at bay. It was a great half for the Kifaru, centre pairing of Kevin Ochami and Brad Oduako keeping the duo of Ken Moseti and Brian Omondi at bay.
Alvin Otieno on the wing had managed to keep tabs on Papa captain Allan Omuka and indeed held the upper hand in this battle. His partners in the back three in Pius Shiundu and Stanley Lunani were able to keep things tidy at the back. The duo of Harun Lubisia and George Mutuku making sure the side played in the right end of the pitch.
The Papa had forty minutes to turn things around, their scrum was dominant but they couldn’t capitalise on this in that first period. As the sides came out for the second half, it was more of the same.
Papa had little joy in the rucks and line outs, the Kifaru were solid in defence and ruffled their opponents at every chance. As the half wore on, the toll on the heavier Papa forwards started to show, a bit of frustration too. With a little over 15 minutes to play the Kifaru started to put together some great phases.
Rocky Aguko who was later named man of the match, would go over for the first try of the game, George Mutuku converting for a 10-0 lead. Rocky had been a real rock in the side, not only in this match but since the series started. His should be, Man of the Series.
That score would spur the Kifaru into fifth gear, with the scent of victory getting stronger. Brad Oduako would seal the game for his side, with a try at the corner in the last play of the game. The conversion going wide for a 15-0 final score.
A fitting performance by the Kifaru, that these players will probably remember for a long time to come. The side managed to not only hold their own but dominate much more fancied sides through out the series.
They started against the Papa, though the result didn’t go their way, followed it up against last year’s runners up Rwenzori, and perhaps their best showing came against the defending champions, Ndovu in Machakos. This one the icing on the cake, as they managed to become the first side to keep a clean sheet in a super series final.
With many bemoaning the direction that the series has taken, especially this year’s which missed the faces of many top players. This win is the silver lining on that cloud, how long would we have taken to really discover the likes of Andrew Chogo of TUK? or Brad Odwako,Israel Soi, Pius Shiundu, Kevin Bundi, I could go on and on.
Special mention to the men that orchestrated the side, Tito Oduk and Charles Ngovi, the master minds behind this very tactical Kifaru side.
Earlier in the day, the Ndovu battled to a 18-11 win against the Chui in the Bronze play off to secure third spot in this year’s tournament.