NAIROBI, Kenya, April 8- Kenya Harlequins clash with archrivals and Kenya Cup defending champions Impala headlines Saturday’s semi final double header at the Rugby Football Union of East African (RFUEA) grounds.
If the last encounter between both sides is anything to go by, rugby fans are sure to witness a battle of gladiatorial proportions especially with a place in the final at stake.
Both teams will be delighted at the return of their national sevens players to both sides which should add more drama to what has been a compelling season.
Quins who suffered their first loss of the season to Nakuru a fortnight ago welcome back Dennis Muhanji, Victor Sudi and Sidney Ashioya in a back division that also has Naftali Bondo and the mercurial Patrice Agunda.
Daniel Kiptoo is expected to be at the forefront of Quins’ traditional onslaught alongside his fellow test front rowers Vincent Ongera and Joel Nganga while the back row unit of David Mogere, Leslie Libasia and Jeff Ojwach will be out to make a nuisance of themselves.
Joel Omer and Paul Oimbo are the battering rams for the red shirts who will give no quarter in their quest to retain their title.
Having finished fourth on the log, Bill Githinji’s side will be keen to put their performance in the regular season on one side and storm into next weeks final in style and at Quins’ cost.
The former national sevens coach will be counting on the experience of long time servants Frank Ndong and Moses Kola to catapult Impala to the summit of the competition as well as the guile of flyhalf Nato Simiyu and the attacking prowess of Vincent Mose and the ballast provided by the industrious Brian Nyikuli.
The precursor to this titanic clash is the other semi final between three time champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Nakuru RFC.
The return of Dennis Mwanja to the KCB stable from IRB sevens could not be more timely as the bankers hope to regain the title they last held aloft in 2007.
Mwanja has been in irresistible form for the bankers together alongside Anthony Ogot, Franklin Amiani and Edwin Alubaka in the boiler room.
Michael Otieno’s side drew six all against Impala last weekend in Ruaraka but are expected to cut loose against against an unpredictable Nakuru outfit.
Nakuru will be boosted by the return of national sevens scrumhalf Gibson Weru whose formidable partnership with Simon Wariuki should rattle the bankers’ defences.
‘Wanyore’ will also rely on the grit of lock Nick Lango and the pace of Larry Safari out wide.
Both matches are live on pan African sports broadcaster Supersport.