Homeboyz are top seeds in Great rift 10 aside

By Ben Ahenda: Wednesday, April 17th 2019 at 12:06 GMT +3 | Rugby
Homeboyz’s Polycarp Odhiambo (right) in top gear against Kabras during their Kenya Cup match at Jamhuri Showground, Nairobi on March 4, 2017 [Courtesy]

As the Great Rift 10 Aside Championships kicks-off with the Schools Championships at Nakuru Athletic Club tomorrow, the six teams that have qualified for the Kenya Cup League play-offs are the ones to watch in the chase for the overall title.

They are Kabras Sugar (74), Kenya Commercial Bank (72), Kenya Harlequins (53), Top Fry Nakuru RFC (47), Stanbic Mwamba (45) and Resolution Impala Saracens (45).

However, defending champions Menengai Cream Homeboyz who won the title in 2017 and 2018 but failed to qualify for the play-offs after finishing ninth with 29 points from 16 matches are the Great Rift 10 Aside top seeds.

Homeboyz are in Pool A alongside Resolution Impala Saracens, Nondescripts and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture Technology (JKUAT)’s Cougars.

The Dee Jays who upstaged the 2016 champions Strathmore Leos in last year’s finals are determined to revive their dwindling fortunes in the local scene.

Homeboyz finished a distant ninth in the Kenya Cup League preliminary matches with a total of 29 points from 16 matches behind leaders Kabras Sugar (74), Kenya Commercial Bank (72), Kenya Harlequins (53), Top Fry Nakuru RFC (47), Stanbic Mwamba (45) and Resolution Impala Saracens (45).

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Buoyed by the their recent performance in the league, hosts Nakuru RFC are focused to win the Great Rift title for a record of five times having won it in 1993, 1995, 2011 and 2015 in order to close the gap of the undisputed record of Impala Saracens who have won it for a record of seven times since its inception in 1990.

“We’ll take a match at a time from the group stages before we get to the knockout stages where strategies must change depending on the next opponent from one match to the other,” said Nakuru RFC Head Coach Mitch Ocholla.

Buoyed by the presence of National Sevens Team international fly-half Oscar Ouma among other internationals in the squad who have as well featured for the National Fifteens Team - The Simbas, Ocholla is optimistic anything is possible in the race for their fifth title just like he predicted they’ll qualify for play-offs and possibly win the Kenya Cup League title after an earlier foul start.

“It will be total teamwork from start and we’ll not underrate any of our opponents from the first to the last match,” the former Strathmore Leos tactician noted.

Nakuru are in Pool D alongside their next door neighbours Menengai Oilers, Makueni RFC and University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine.

Pool B has Stanbic Mwamba, Masinde Muliro University of Science Technology (MMUST), KCB and Egerton University Wasps.

Kenya Cup champions Kabras Sugar are in Pool C with Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad, Strathmore Leos and the University of Eldoret.

So far, the tournament has raised a total sponsorship of over Sh 15 million with title sponsors Menengai Oil Refinery Limited donating a total of Sh 5 million with Sh 2.5million going towards hosting of the tournament and the balance towards the Churchill Show to hosted by popular comedian Daniel Ndambuki aimed at hyping it on the eve of the event tomorrow.

The Standard PLC are media sponsors.

“We need to do it in a different style compared to the yesteryears,” said tournament director Edward Moseti.

He said they have beefed up security for all those who will be in attendance for the three-day rugby extravaganza.

UTILITIES.

POOL A – Homeboyz, Resolution Impala Saracens, Nondescripts and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture Technology (JKUAT)’s Cougars.

POOL B - Stanbic Mwamba, Masinde Muliro University of Science Technology (MMUST), KCB and Egerton University Wasps.

POOL C - Kabras Sugar, Blak Blad, Strathmore Leos and University of Eldoret (UOE).

POOL D – Nakuru RFC, Menengai Oilers, Makueni RFC and Mean Machine.

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