KRU Championship: USIU eye top spot as Kitale and Pirates fight relegation

MMUST RFC (blue) in action against USIU RFC in a past KRU Championship match [Courtesy]

United States International University-Africa (USIU) RFC will be seeking to finish at the top of the table when they host Ngong RFC at the USIU grounds on Saturday as curtains come down on the 2018-19 KRU Championship regular season.

Dennis Mwanja’s charges are third in the table with 49 points and with a game in hand, five points below leaders Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) Monks RFC at 54 points.

Victory over Ngong will take them a step closer to leapfrogging Monks and Mwanja believes they have the momentum and quality to book a home semifinal slot.

“We have been working hard throughout the season and now we have the opportunity to finish at the helm of the table. The boys are calm and we are going to do everything in our power to collect maximum points,” Mwanja told the Standard Sports.

However, to finish top, USIU has to collect a massive 10 points from their last two games, therefore, they have to win by a bonus when they face Ngong and South Coast Pirates respectively.

The leaders will be making a trip to Nakuru to face ninth-placed Egerton Wasps and team coach Edward Opio urged his team to be cautious for they need a win to maintain their spot.

“We have to avoid any slip up for us to maintain our position despite USIU having a better chance of topping the league. They have not yet played their last game so we have to finish on a high and wait for their final result,” he said.

Second-placed Western Bulls will also be travelling to Eldoret to face University of Eldoret hoping for a win to seal an unlikely second-place finish banking, their hopes on USIU to slip.

In Kakamega, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) RFC will be hoping to finish the season with a flourish when they welcome sixth-placed Kisii at the MMUST grounds.

A win for Kisii will seal a playoff spot but MMUST Captain Samwel Mbeche said they are going for maximum points after losing the first leg in Gusii even though they have already booked a playoff spot.

“Our goal is to collect as many points as possible and Kisii will face the wrath of our team when we meet. The team is hungry for a high finish as the season closes and we also need that win to motivate us as we hope for a Kenya Cup promotion,” Mbeche said.

Kisii have a total of 32 points, level with Mombasa who are seventh but have conceded fewer points than the coastal outfit.

The coastal region will not be spared as Mombasa RFC will be visiting neighbours SC Pirates in the coastal derby with SC Pirates looking for a win to escape relegation while Mombasa need a bonus point win to contend for the last playoff position currently held by Kisii.

The lakeside city will feature Silverstone Kisumu hosting relegation-threatened Kitale at the Kisumu Polytechnic, with Howard Okwemba charges already in the playoffs.

A loss for Kitale will, however, condemn them to relegation where they will join Ngong who are already relegated.

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