SCHOOLS: Butula, Koyonzo and Kakamega High gear up for epic battle in Western Region rugby finals

Butula Boys High School Rugby team playing St.Anthony Boys High School Kitale at Eldoret Sports Club In Uasin Gishu County during the National secondary schools sports on April,26,2023. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

The Western Region Secondary School games are set to light up the sports calendar once again, with the spotlight brightly shining on the rugby 15s tournament.

This year, the competition is brimming with anticipation, especially in Group B, where defending champions Butula High School from Bungoma County are gearing up for a highly anticipated clash against their fierce rivals, Koyonzo Secondary School from Kakamega County.

This match-up promises to be a thriller, rekindling a rivalry that reached a fever pitch during last year's semifinals.

Butula Boys, the reigning national rugby 15s champions, are entering the regional games with a target on their backs. Their journey to the top was nothing short of cinematic last year, as they seized the national title with a resounding 36-0 victory over All Saints Embu.

Branton Mulefu of Koyonzo in action against Vihiga at the national rugby finals in Kakamega. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

However, their path to glory at the regional level was marked by controversy, with Koyonzo being expelled from the games for fielding an ineligible player.

This turn of events paved the way for Butula Boys to compete in the final, where they narrowly clinched victory against Vihiga High School with a 12-7 scoreline.

Reflecting on their preparations after winning the Bungoma County title last week, Butula Boys' coach, Fredrick Shimenga, expressed confidence in his team's readiness.

"We've built on our strengths and worked on our weaknesses. Our victory at the county level has boosted our morale, and we're coming into the regional games more prepared than ever," Shimenga said.

Butula's journey in this year's tournament will not be without challenges, as they are set to play Kimombo and Chavakali High in Group B.

Each game is crucial in their quest to advance in the competition, with every team aiming to make a mark and upset the reigning champions.

Kakamega High and Friends School Kamusinga  players in action during Western Regional school games at Bukhungu stadium last year.[Benjamin Sakwa,Standard]

In Group A, Kakamega High School find themselves in a compelling mix, ready to face Vihiga, Bungoma, and Mundika Boys. Kakamega, a school with a rich rugby heritage, is keen to reclaim its glory after a setback when they lost to Koyonzo.

Kakamega coach Amos Wamanga shared his thoughts on the team's preparations.

"After our loss to Koyonzo, we went back to the drawing board. We've focused on enhancing our tactical skills and physical conditioning. The boys are hungry for success, and we're looking to make a strong statement at the regional games," Wamanga said.

The rivalry between Butula Boys and Koyonzo Secondary School is more than just a game; it's a testament to the competitive spirit that defines the Western Region Secondary School games.

Koyonzo High School Rugby Team celebrate victory against Vihiga High School during Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association National chools ball games at Bull Ring in Kakamega county on August 11, 2023. Koyonzo won 22-12. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Last year's semifinal clash, which saw Koyonzo emerge victorious with a 12-6 win before their subsequent disqualification, has only added fuel to the fire.

Both teams are eager to prove their dominance on the field, with Koyonzo seeking redemption and Butula aiming to solidify their status as the team to beat.

As the games approach, all eyes will be on these talented young athletes, who are not just playing for victories but for pride, honour, and chance to write their names in the annals of their schools' sports history.

The rugby 15s tournament is more than a competition; it's a showcase of skill, determination, and the unyielding spirit of youth.

With teams from across the Western Region ready for battle, the stage is set for a display of rugby prowess.

 

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