NAIROBI, Kenya, April 23- With the dust having settled on the Kenya Cup, rugby fans in Kenya can turn their attention to the Bamburi Super Series which kicks off on Saturday.
The Cheetahs face Lions in the opening match from 2pm at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds with defending champions Rhinos locking horns with the Buffaloes in the second clash from 4pm.
The Lions will be fancied to win the cat fight against two-time series winners Cheetahs as they boast a well balanced side that contains the bulk of the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) side which reached the Kenya Cup finals.
Andrew Amonde, Anthony Ogot, Frankline Amiani and Edwin Alubaka will be looking to put last weekend’s loss behind them.
With the national sevens team players allowed to compete in the first two weekends before haring off to prepare for the final two IRB rounds, the big question will be whether franchises can include them or not.
Lions could therefore field Humphrey Kayange, Collins Injera, Asego, Horace and Dennis Mwanja.
The Cheetahs will look to national 15’s skipper Mike Aung to lead a powerful pack that includes Frank Ndong, Hillary Itela, Giles Littlewood and Paul Oimbo.
They also boast a number of top sevens players in Innocent Simiyu, Biko Adema, Brian Nyikuli and Joshua Gathumbi to turn to should they desire.
Reigning champions Rhinos will be heavy favourites against the Buffaloes in a repeat of last year’s final.
With the bulk of the national 15’s team forwards, including Daniel Kiptoo, Joel Nganga, Vincent Ongera and Tony Mutai, in the side and Simon Wariuki providing creativity at flyhalf, they should be too strong for their opponents.
The Super Series is the East Africa version of the Super 14 with teams drawn from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The seven-year-old event has grown in stature over the years and sponsors Bamburi have this year improved their sponsorship by Sh2 million to 11million.
The teams have also increased to eight with Twigas, who represent Tanzania, set to make their debut while Uganda will be represented by Victoria and Ruwenzori franchises.
Last year’s finalists Buffaloes have shifted their home base from Nakuru to Mumias in Western Kenya.