NAIROBI, Kenya, January 21- The 2010 local rugby season gets underway on Saturday with the Resolution Health Impala Floodlit tournament launching what promises to be another exciting year for rugby.Despite the absence of Kenya Harlequins and Nondiescripts from the cast, last weekend’s draw threw up some exciting matches headline by the clash between Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Mwamba RFC at 7.30 p.m.
KCB, last year’s finalists, can count on experienced internationals like Antony Ogot, Peter Mutai and Curtis Olago to take them semi finals.
Mwamba are without the inspirational quartet of Humphrey Kayange, Collins Injera, Horace Otieno and Lavin Asego who are away on international sevens duty.
There absence undoubtedly blunts the black shirts potency out wide but they should not be written off.
The two Kenya Cup sides have given rugby fans memorable clashes, a case in point being the 2007 final that ended in a 14-13 win for the Lions.
Hosts Impala begin their title defence with a tie against the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) at 4 p.m.
Impala is another side that will be missing their top players with Innocent Simiyu and Brian Nyikuli also on tour with the national sevens team but the red shirts have Vincent Mose, Paul Oimbo and Nato Simiyu to run riot on their home patch.
A win for Bill Githinji’s should be a mere formality but the students from Thika Road have been known to cause major upsets in this competition most famously in 2004 when they knocked out Nondies in the first round.
Nakuru RFC take on KCB second string side Cubs at 6 p.m. while Mean Machine face Impala Boks at 2.45.
The schools edition that returns after a year’s hiatus sees teams from Ofafa Jericho and Muhuri Muchiri and indicator that rugby is spreading its wings beyond its hotbeds.
Traditional powerhouse Nairobi School versus Ofafa Jericho at 12.45 p.m. followed by Alliance locking horns with Muhuri Muchiri at 1.30 p.m.,
Lenana School face off with Moi Forces Academy at 2.15 followed by Mangu versus Kiambu at 3.15.
Both Impala Club and the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) ground will host the action on match day one.