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Four Nakuru RFC key players to miss in the chase slots to Kenya Cup play-offs

RUGBY By Ben Ahenda | March 28th 2019

 

 

Kenya Harlequins' Patrice Agunda (left) and Philip Owuor of Top Fry Nakuru during a Kenya Cup match at RFUEA grounds on Saturday, January 12, 2019 [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Nakuru RFC, who are chasing a slot in Kenya Cup play-offs, will miss key players in their battle against Blak Blad at Kenyatta University on Saturday.

Hillary Kisangi, the team manager, said they will international fly-half Oscar Ouma, Bramwell Bunyasi and Phillip Owuor who will leave for Hong Kong Sevens Club Championships.

Owuor and Bunyasi will play for the East African Select side while Ouma will feature for a United States of America select side in the Hong Kong showpiece.

International winger Nelson Oyoo, who was also expected to link up with Wanyore, has also been ruled out of the squad as he is training with Shujaa for Hong Kong World Sevens Series next weekend.

Despite their absence, Kisangi said they can still register convincing wins in their next two Kenya Cup League matches for them to make the cut to the play-offs.

“Even with the absence of the four key players, we still have the depth required for the team to win in our remaining two matches ahead of the play-offs,” said Kisangi.

Nakuru RFC are scheduled to play Blak Blad on Saturday at Kenyatta University grounds ahead of their next match against Mean Machine at University of Nairobi Grounds next weekend.

“In the two matches, we have a target of winning the two matches with at least two points in each match to sail into play-offs,” he added.

Meanwhile All Blacks captain Kieran Read will make his long-awaited return to the field on Friday as the Canterbury Crusaders face the Wellington Hurricanes in a Super Rugby clash that could go a long way in deciding the New Zealand conference title.

The 33-year-old Read has not played since the All Blacks’ end-of-season tour last year and was one of the senior international players given an extended break in the off-season with an eye on the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

“Can’t wait,” Read told reporters in Christchurch. “I feel like I’m in as good nick as I’ve been in my career.

“It was the aim this year, it’s what the off-season was about. I’m very thankful to have had the time. Right now, it’s time to get out there and do it on the field.”

The Crusaders head the Super Rugby standings on 19 points despite suffering their first loss in more than a year last week in Sydney, when they were beaten 20-12 by the New South Wales Waratahs.

The loss was particularly tough for Scott Robertson’s side, coming just eight days after the March 15 shooting at two mosques in their home town of Christchurch killed 50 people.

“We were desperate last week but we were pretty inaccurate a lot of times at key moments,” Robertson told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s our focus, we made sure we were really clear on what we needed to get better at.”

Read’s fellow All Blacks Richie Mo’unga and Scott Barrett have also returned to the Crusaders side after they missed the loss in Sydney as part of the national team’s player management protocols.

“It means a lot,” Robertson said of Read’s return. “Obviously his experience, his ability to play well in big games. His calm head, and ability to help out as a captain and leader.”

The loss last week allowed the Hurricanes to join the Crusaders on 19 points although John Plumtree’s side are second in the New Zealand conference on points differential.

The Hurricanes’ only loss this season was to the Crusaders in Christchurch on Feb. 23, when they were blown away by the rampant nine-times champions.

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