Eyes on Dala Sevens tourney in Kisumu as Simbas hunt for World Cup slot in France

Kenya Simbas' Dominic Coulson (second left) is attacked by Georges Mendy (left), Saibo Sakho (second right) and Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal Droit players during the Rugby Africa Cup Pool B at the Nyayo National stadium on Saturday, July 3, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Menengai Oilers will renew their rivalry with Kabras Sugar at Dala Sevens, the fourth leg of the 2022 National Sevens Series which resumes this weekend after a two-week break and away in France national 15s team Simbas will start the chase for a World Cup ticket.

Simbas will face off against Uganda in the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers at Stade Maurice David today.

The winner will book a semi-final clash with either Senegal or Algeria, who will play later in the day at the same venue.

At the other side of the draw Namibia faced Burkina Faso yesterday at Stade Delort, Marseille with the winner securing a date with either Zimbabwe or Cote d’Ivoire, who will meet on the same day.

Boosted by the inclusion of veteran star Collins Injera, Simbas will be keen to qualify for the World Cup especially after a learning curve from the Currie Cup test matches in South Africa.

But apart from Injera,there are also other experienced players in the side who understand about Kenya and Uganda rivalry.

In the Dala 7s it will be renewal of rivalry between Oilers and Kabras as they clashed four months ago in the 2021-2022 Kenya Cup finals where Kabras Sugar emerged champions after a 34-28 win at the Bull Ring in Kakamega.

The clash dubbed the ‘Rai Derby’ will headline Group B that also consists of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and Daystar Falcons.

Oilers who reached the Driftwood Sevens finals two weeks ago in Mombasa will be keen to topple their rivals in the group as they eye to win the Dala 7s leg according to club chairman Simpson Osiemo.

Speaking to Standard Sports, Osiemo said the team has received maximum support from their sponsors and will be targeting the finals once again. The team played well two weeks ago in Mombasa and narrowly missed the title but that was a learning curve for us and now we are here to compete again.

“With the support they are receiving I believe the players have what it takes to win the Kisumu circuit,” Osiemo said.

The opening three rounds of this year’s circuit have produced three different winners.

KCB claimed the season opening Kabeberi 7s before the Strathmore Leos came good at the Christie 7s. Mwamba then claimed the third leg, the Driftwood 7s in Mombasa.

These outcomes have meant that race for the overall title remains finely poised at the halfway stage.

Defending national champions KCB (58 points) hold a narrow five-point lead over Strathmore Leos and Menengai Oilers who are joint second on 53 points.

Newly crowned Driftwood 7s champions Mwamba are fourth place on 48 points but still have a realistic chance of claiming the overall title at the close of the sevens season.

Mwamba are in Group A alongside hosts Kisumu RFC, Nondescripts and Nakuru as leaders KCB face Strathmore Leos, Impala and Blak Blad.

Homeboyz, Kenya Harlequin, Zetech University and Catholic Monks will face off in Group D.