By BS MULAVI
MACHAKOS; KENYA: Masaku Sevens rugby tournament got off to a flying start with Kenyan teams in command positions.
Champions Kenya Harlequin kicked off their title defence campaign with a 27-5 victory over Stormers, which they followed it up with 50-0 drubbing of Mean Machine. It was also a good day at work for Nakuru RFC, who beat Mean Machine 22-5 and then followed it up with 33-5 thumping of Stormers.
Homeboyz Coach Paul Murunga, saw his team claim the scalp of hosts Kilunda in a 26-0 win before they went on to hammer Nazarene 47-5 to qualify for the Main Cup quarterfinals.
“This has been a very impressive tournament so far,” said Murunga. “The teams here are very competitive and this has raised the levels of play significantly. Last year I think the teams were gauging the tournament, but this time they have seen the expectations and they have responded accordingly,” said Murunga.
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Murunga said it is hard to determine who will win this year’s tournament given that Mwamba are looking strong having beaten Daystar 44-0 and Kenyatta University Blak Blad’ 52-0 in their second game.
“The side that wins tomorrow is likely to be the team that had enough rest during the night,” he explained.
“My team has quite a number of young players and they have played exceptionally well. I think they have the ability to win, but for now we are concentrating more on gaining the experience that will boost us in the national Sevens circuit.”
“Sevens rugby is fairly established in the country and this tournament is a good example of how the discipline should be spread to the smaller town so that we can reap as much as we can from the best players all over,” he said.
“All credit to the organisers for a job well done. I think they have really raised the bar for all the tournaments that will be taking part in the country.”
Kabras Chairman Ray Okello praised his troops for their remarkable 22-0 victory over Uganda’s Pirates in their first game. “This was the first ever game for the club and we registered a vital victory in the tournament,” he said.
“This signifies the great things that are to come from the side, not only in this tournament but the whole season.”
Okello noted that West Kenya Sugar Company have a vision of helping all the teams in the Western Kenya region so as to raise standards of rugby in the region.
“We are excited to join the rugby fraternity and we are now working on getting enough games that will help us get affiliated with the Kenya Rugby Union,” he concluded.