NAIROBI, Kenya, November 16- Kenya Cup champions Lunch Bar Quins are primed to make it three wins in a row as they seek to sustain their charmed start to their title defence when they host Kisumu RFC on Saturday.
Quins who have recorded maximum ten points following bonus point 37- 0 and 27-3 wins over Western Bulls and Blak Blad in their opening fixtures to sit pretty at the summit welcome the ninth placed side at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa Grounds.
The titleholders have been mean in defence, not conceding a try thus far with the only blemish to their perfect start being the penalty conceded against Blak Blad.
“So far, so good. We have collected maximum points against very determined opposition. We are working on improving game after game and feel we can only get better the more often the players play together,” coach Charles Cardovillis declared in a statement that should concern their challengers.
“We look forward to welcoming Kisumu this weekend. They will be up for it and we must be patient and maintain our structures. Our defence has been very sharp, letting in only three points in two games. We are looking on keeping this up as we sharpen our attack; improve our set piece and break down efficiency,” he stressed.
Kisumu come into this fixture at the back of a 29-44 home defeat to Menengai Oil Nakuru last weekend, a result that Coach Arthur Shikwe termed unfortunate as it betrayed his side’s performance on the pitch.
“We played a good game and did not deserve to concede over 40 points. We played at a very high intensity, even rallying to cut the deficit to 22-23 but poor decision making proved costly for us in the end,” he added.
On the task of facing the rampaging champions, Shikwe was confident his side can upset the cart.
“We’ve got great respect for Quins, but going by our performance against Nakuru last weekend, if we just tidy up, we are capable of beating them.
“Quins do have weaknesses. If we identify them early enough and capitalize on them, we can beat them. We will try and contain their forwards and just try and hit them hard from the onset, trying to expose the cracks in their defence and see how the game goes.”
Players to watch out for on the Quins side include Nick Barasa, Leon Adongo, Brian Nyikuli and Victor Sudi while Kisumu count on Kelvin Mzee, Newman Opiyo, Dick Osano and the Otieno brothers Essau and Elphas.
Elsewhere, Kakamega High School’s rugby pitch hosts the region’s first ever Kenya Cup fixture when home team Western Bulls welcome second from bottom Blak Blad in a tie that sees the two newly promoted sides battle for league points.
Currently placed eighth on the log, Bulls registered their first win of the season when they claimed a famous win away from home, defeating pre-match favourites Impala RFC 21-14 at the latter’s home ground last weekend.
Team Manager Newton Ong’alo remains cautious despite their anticipation to secure another victory over their fellow promoted opponents
“We don’t want to raise anyone’s expectations; we will just continue doing what we need to do. When the season began, we set out targets for the side, and we have already.
The match against Blak Blad will be fast paced, and we just need to keep our composure and utilize whatever point scoring opportunities come our way,” he explained.
Blak Blad are still in pursuit of their first win of the season
Second placed Menengai Oil Nakuru, the highest scoring side thus far (80 pts) meet a Mean Machine side that has conceded a league high 76 points from two outings.
Nakuru are level on 10 points with Quins but are second due to an inferior point difference. A third win on the trot will definitely fuel their post season ambitions.
Machine on the other hand have been blunt in attack, unable to cross the opponent’s try line in two successive league outings giving Nakuru the chance to press their early title credentials even further.
They can draw inspiration from Kisumu who crossed the Nakuru try line four times, exposing the chinks in the Wanyore’s armour.
Lunch Bar Quins v Kisumu RFUEA Grounds
Western Bulls v Blak Blad Kakamega High School
Menengai Oil Nakuru v Mean Machine Nakuru Athletic Club
Mwamba RFC v Impala RFC Impala Grounds
KCB v Homeboyz KCB Sports Club
Strathmore Leos v Total Oil Nondies Strathmore, Madaraka
Western Bulls II vs Blakblad II 2pm, Kakamega High
Harlequins II vs Kisumu II 2pm, RFUEA
Nakuru II vs MeanMachine II 2pm, Nakuru Athletic Club(NAC)
KCB II vs Homeboyz II 2pm, KCB Sports Club Ruaraka
Strathmore II vs Nondescripts II 2pm, Strathmore Madaraka
Mwamba II vs Impala II 2pm, Impala Grounds (UON)