MACHAKOS, Kenya, June 1 – Harun Lubisia was the hero after converting a sudden death penalty to send UAP Kifaru to the finals of 12th Bamburi Rugby Super Series in their 23-19 win over defending champions Ndovu in a pulsating match played at Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium on Saturday.
Kifaru that features players from the University sides will meet Papa Nguvu who eliminated Bollore Chui 30-23 in the finals set for next weekend at RFUEA Grounds, Nairobi.
“It was a tough match but I’m happy we managed to win the match although not easy. We were playing a good side who are defending champions and I congratulated the boys for giving their best.
“They came up a better side in the second half and that’s why they levelled the scores but above all I’m happy for Lubisia who took us to the finals. We are now going to prepare for the finals and hope to become champions,” Kifaru coach Charles Ngovi stated after the match.
Kifaru were a brighter side in the first half, with Ezra Lagat setting the pace after converting a penalty before Paul Muikia extended the lead through a drop goal.
Andrew Chogo pulled back with a try but Martin Tubula touched down moments later for Clayne Okallo to convert as captain Rocky Aguko scored a penalty to give the Ngovi side 14- 5 lead at the break.
Ndovu that features players from Top Fry Nakuru RFC, Western Bulls and Kisumu, resumed the better side managing to come seven points down to restore parity after scoring two tries with Giles LIttlewood touching down first for Calvin Otieno to convert but Lubisia scored a penalty to see Kifaru still lead the score sheet.
Kelvin Omiyo broke through to touch the white wash from the left as Javan Murayi’s kick went through to level the scores at 19-19 and send the clash to extra time.
Ndovu conceded an infringement and Lubisia stepped in for the golden chance after converting the penalty that took them to the finals.
In the earlier kick-off, unbeaten Nguvu made their intentions clear by taking a 15-0 lead inside the opening 15 minutes with Peter Kepher putting them in front in the second minute with a penalty just outside Chui’s 22-metre line.
Ken Moseti’s good run on the right wing and sublime pass yielded Papa’s first try in the ninth through Ian Indimuli.
Pacy Moseti again provided the pass that put Papa at 13-0 after his good run on the right and was reciprocated by captain Allan Omuka, who scored their second try as Kepher made no mistake from the conversion.
Chui missed a penalty in the 17th minute before Papa added another penalty through Kepher to open an 18-0 lead against a hard-fighting Chui, who reduced the deficit with a 25th penalty through Erick Okoma.
Papa could not capitalise on their numerical strength to widen the gap after Charles Kanyi was sin-binned for infringement.
They however managed to score a try seconds from halftime through Brian Omondi to enjoy a 23-3 lead at the midway hooter.
The second half belonged to Chui as they posted 18-7, but was not enough from crashing out. George Okowa scored a penalty and a try in the first five minutes to cut Papa’s advantage to 12 points.
Papa responded almost immediately through Shabani Ahmed that Kepher converted, but a Richard Sidindi try in the 68th and a 79th converted try from Anthony Nyandigisi gave Chui some hope, but it was too little too late.