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Why Rugby Super Series is a launch pad for emerging talent

Rugby
 Kabras Sugar Buffaloes Darrell Omondi (with ball) and Brian Kiptanui in action during a past match. [Rugby Super Series]

The ongoing Rugby Super Series has been a significant platform for nurturing talent and developing the sport in Kenya.

Returning after a decade-long hiatus, this year's competition which features four franchise teams: Kabras Sugar Buffaloes, Faiba Mobile Rhinos, Menengai Cream Cheetahs, and KCB Bank Lions, signals a new era of growth and opportunity in the sport.

According to former Kenya Simbas international Max Adaka, the coach of Kabras Sugar Buffaloes, the series' is important for rugby growth in the country, highlighting its role in bringing emerging players to the forefront of national attention.

"The Super Series is good for rugby development because it allows youngsters, who didn’t get a chance to play in the recently concluded Kenya Cup, to experience high-octane rugby,” he stated.

“This exposure is essential for grooming future champions and sustaining the sport's growth.”

Under the bright skies of the Western Region, the Buffaloes, backed by their title sponsor West Kenya Sugar and its flagship brand Kabras Sugar, are making a notable impact in the series.

Fresh from clinching the Kenya Cup league title, the franchise is determined to replicate its success in the Super Series, carrying forward their championship momentum.

Adaka, reflecting on his team’s performance so far, expressed satisfaction with how new players from various local clubs like Monks, Kisumu, Western Bulls, and MMUST are integrating with the seasoned Kabras athletes.

“The new players are blending in well and are playing according to plan," Adaka said. This strategic amalgamation of talents is central to the Buffaloes' approach, aiming to create a robust team dynamic.

However, despite these positive developments, Adaka pointed out a significant barrier to further progress: funding.

“For rugby to improve even more, we need more sponsors to come in and support these boys. The biggest challenge is lack of financial aid,” he said, advocating for greater financial backing to help elevate the sport's standards and support the players adequately.

 A line out play between Kabras Sugar Buffaloes (in white and blue)and Faiba Mobile Rhinos at Nakuru Athletics Club. [Daniel Chege,Standard]

Looking ahead to the upcoming Kakamega leg of the series, the Buffaloes are eager to impress their home crowd and secure victories.

"Buffaloes franchise is mainly a western side, we don’t like losing games in front of our home fans. So come Saturday, we will have very exciting games," Adaka enthused.

He also extended a heartfelt invitation to the fans, urging them to come out in large numbers to support the team.

The technical team at Kabras Sugar is utilizing this series to introduce young talents from the Kabras Sugar Rugby Age Grade System.

Players like Kenya U20 international Brian Kiptanui and Darren Brantana have already begun to make their mark, showing promising signs of becoming key players in the future of Kenyan rugby.

With the strategic support of West Kenya Sugar and the skilled guidance of coach Adaka, the Kabras Sugar Buffaloes are not just competing; they are setting the stage for the next generation of rugby stars in Kenya.

As the Rugby Super Series progresses, it remains a pivotal event for scouting talent, testing young players in high-stress games, and ultimately, for the growth of rugby within the nation.

Rugby Super Series

Venue: The Bull Ring, Kakamega

Fixtures

Faiba Rhinos v Menengai Cream Cheetahs-2pm

Kabras Sugar Rhinos v KCB Bank Lions-4pm

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