Last season’s runners up Menengai Oilers are looking forward to starting the new year on a high note when they host Nakuru RFC in the ‘Nakuru Derby’ that highlights the Kenya Cup which resumes today after the festive break.
Five matches are on the cards across different venues while the match pitting defending champions Kabras Sugar and Homeboyz has been postponed to a later date.
Oilers, who are unbeaten in their opening four matches, enter the derby second in the Kenya Cup standings behind former champions KCB. The Oilers have 19 points, one behind KCB.
Despite winning all their matches, Oilers missed out on a bonus point victory in their third match against MMUST which they won 26-10 (two tries and four penalties) and Gibson Weru is keen to avoid the same mistake against rivals Nakuru.
Speaking ahead of the match, Weru said the derby presents a threat because each side will be playing for pride and bragging rights.
However. he insists that their mission is to finish the regular season better than they did last season.
“We want to play better than we did last year. That of course means that we have to up our game and finish as high as possible ahead of the playoffs,” said Weru.
“However, the season is still early and we have big games coming up. That means we have to pick maximum points now. I trust in the boys and we will see.”
Nakuru have only picked one win and lost three, a start that leaves them eighth on the log with six points.
In Nairobi, former champions KCB will hope to maintain their perfect start to the season when they welcome Kenyatta University side Blak Blad at the KCB Sports Club.
The bankers have picked bonus point victory in all their four matches so far and a fifth will cement their bid to reclaim the Kenya Cup title they lost last year to Kabras Sugar who are second with 19 points.
Other matches will feature fourth placed Mwamba against Strathmore Leos as newbies Catholic Monks welcome Kenya Harlequin in Karen.
Meanwhile, bottom-placed Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST RFC) will be hoping to leave behind their recent struggles when they face University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine at the UoN Grounds.
MMUST are without a win in their opening four matches against KCB, Kabras, Menengai Oilers and Strathmore Leos and will be hunting for their first victory.
“It’s a New Year. That means a new start. We have learnt our lessons and we trust that 2023 brings new beginnings. We are still in the game and all the team needs is a jumpstart which can come with a win over Mean Machine,” said MMUST coach Ahaya Ochieng.
Mean Machine are also yet to win a match this season and are 11th in the standings with two points.