Rugby Rugby

Impala face Quins in Kenya Cup derby test


NAIROBI, Kenya, January 27- The Ngong Road derby between champions Harlequins away to neighbours Impala is the highlight fixture of round eight of the Kenya Cup on Saturday.

The traditional rivals will face off seeking to move up the log with the champions coming to the fixture that has produced fireworks in the past on the back of a morale boosting 22-21 results against table toppers Mwamba last weekend.

Fifth placed Impala who are a slot above Quins are on a three match unbeaten streak comprising of two wins and a 15-15 stalemate with KCB in their last match away to the Lions den.

Both sides have games in hand over leaders Mwamba who top the standings on 20 points from seven outings. Impala, on 17 points from six, may be fifth on the log and key on their minds will be bridging that three point gap with the leaders.

Quins offer the perfect platform for the hosts to achieve this but a victory for them will see them pull level with the hosts and close the gap on the leaders as the competition nears its halfway point.

Both sides are evenly matched in the forwards and backs, setting the stage for what should be an exciting clash and on paper with the potential of being the weekend’s top draw.

Mwamba on the other hand face ninth placed Mean Machine at the RFUEA Grounds stinging from allowing the champions back into the game after leading thrice last weekend.

Despite their lowly position Machine are no pushovers having raced to a 23-3 lead against the charging Nakuru RFC in their last fixture but survived a late rally that saw their opponents score 17 unanswered points to hold on to a 23-20 victory.

Mwamba have a competent set of forwards and some quality in the backs but Machine’s inspirational forward Cedric Odera has time and again marshalled his side to deliver strong performances.

Matches between the two sides have previously been close, entertaining fixtures and Saturday’s clash should be no different.

Resurgent Nondies, currently placed seventh play host to second placed Strathmore Leos at the Jamhuri Park. After a slow start to the season, the multiple Kenya Cup champions of yore have seemingly gelled and registered results that lifted them off the league’s basement.

Another win for the white shirts could possibly see them rise to sixth overall, depending on the outcome of other fixtures on the day.

Strathmore showed great character in rallying from 3-17 after 20 minutes in Kisumu to eventually overcome their hosts 44-24 during last weekend’s encounter. That was a result that saw them return to second on the log as they stayed in pursuit of a maiden league title.

A win for the Leos and a loss from Mwamba could see the table usher in new leaders.

Third placed KCB host newly promoted Kisumu RFC who now prop the Kenya Cup league table and the title chasing bankers are among the four sides chasing ascendancy of log.

Fourth placed Nakuru are just a point behind the teams in second and third and a further two points behind the league leading team. They will play host to Homeboyz in the only Kenya Cup fixture outside Nairobi this weekend.

The hosts rallied narrowly lost 23-20 away to Mean Machine and had previously beaten Quins 13-0 in their last home fixture. They welcome a Homeboyz side that started well and has acquitted itself well, though a two match winless streak has seen the newly promoted side slip to eighth.

A win for Nakuru could see them top the table but like with several other fixtures highlighted, it is all dependent on other outcomes.

Action in the Eric Shirley, Nationwide and University leagues also continue.

Collated Fixtures – Saturday 28 January 2012

Kenya Cup

Impala v Quins

Mwamba v Machine

Nondies v Strath

KCB v Kisumu

Nakuru v Homeboyz

Eric Shirley Shield

Impala II v Quins II

Mwamba II v Machine II

Nondies II v Strath II

KCB II v Western Bulls