The champions who faltered in the Christie 7s, the opening round of the circuit last Sunday following their 31-12 defeat in the Main Cup to rivals Lunch bar Quins at the Nairobi’s RFUEA grounds are seeking to repeat the Dala honours they won last year.
“The result of last weekend jolted us, we exposed ourselves a bit but we have been making amends in our training this week although the bulk of our team is engaged with the national side.
“Over the weekend, we will make a statement of intent as defending champions and keep our title hopes alive,” assistant coach Jason Braganza told Capital Sport.
Even though they qualified to the Christie 7s final with a 12-0 victory over KCB in the semis, the tactician accepted the team was still reeling from the loss of Humphrey Kayange who left for further studies at Bristol University in the United Kingdom and are yet to find a suitable replacement for him.
“He left some big boots that are hard to fill; it’s a fact that a player of his calibre in the final game against Quins would have made a big difference in the results.
“We have accepted that he’s no longer with us but since we reached the final last weekend, we still have what it takes to challenge for the title,” the director of rugby at the club affirmed.
The Black Shirts will be seeking to redeem themselves in Pool B where they will up against Nakuru, Mean Machine and Kenya Polytechnic University College in what promises to be a tough assignment.
“It’s a slightly tricky pool compared to what we had in Christies but to win the tournament you have to play the big teams and win all your games, and we are up ready for the challenge
“Although our full training schedule has been interrupted by the national team restructuring plans which we have learnt to deal with, we will be in full strength in Kisumu and will give the act of champions,” Braganza stressed.
Harlequins are their biggest threat and the assistant coach reckoned they are at par with them in all departments but also noted Nakuru, KCB and Nondies as other sides likely to derail their plan particularly if they meet in the knockout stages.
The winners of the first leg who have been seeded first in Dala will face off with Christie Bowl champions Western Bulls, Blak Blad and Shield winners Catholic University in pool A.
KCB who were main cup semi finalists are likely to find it easy in Pool C that comprises the hosts Kisumu, Eldoret and Stormers while other semi finalists, Strathmore Leo are in a relatively tough Pool D that includes Plate winners Homeboyz, Impala and Daystar to complete the division one competition.