Rugby Rugby

Kabras target Christie finals as Circuit hots up

Kabras Sugar players celebrate after winning the fifth place trophy (plate) at the Prinsloo Sevens in Nakuru. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9- Sepetuka Sevens champions Kabras Sugar have put up a target of getting to the final of this weekend’s Christie Sevens at the RFUEA Ground in Nairobi, the penultimate leg of the National Sevens Circuit which grinds to a halt in Kisumu on October 22.

Kabras sit second in the Series standings, five points behind leaders and defending champions Homeboyz RFC who have found it hard to replicate their form from last season when they reached all finals winning three of them.

Kabras head coach Charles Cardovillis hopes to take advantage of any slip ups by the Deejays and head to Kisumu above them with hope of a first ever circuit trophy.

“It is obviously a small difference and the target is to ensure that at least we finish higher than them (Homeboyz). That would be ideal for us. For everyone who goes to a tournament the aim is to win it. For us it is more or less the same but once we get to the final, that would be a good outing for us,” Cardovillis told Capital Sport.

Kabras managed maximum points from the last leg hosted in Eldoret by the Deejays their first of the season. Previously, their best performance was at the Kabeberi Sevens where they lost out in the play-off.

For the Christie Sevens, Kabras are pooled in a tight group that has host team and Cardovillis’ former employers Kenya Harlequins, Strathmore and Mombasa RFC.

“That’s a very tricky pool but we always anticipated it after winning in Eldoret. Playing against Quins will not be easy and Strathmore as well who have already beaten us once this season. Our immediate target going there is to get off the pools,” the tactician offered.

“It will mostly be about mental preparedness and that is a bit we really need to work on well,” he added.

Cardovillis has hinted he will retain most of the players who played in Eldoret while welcoming back Ugandan Philip Wokarach who helped his country win the Africa Sevens in Kampala over the weekend, qualifying for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

Kabras takes on Nondies during the Kabeberi Sevens in Nairobi. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“I would not want to tamper with a winning side so we will retain almost the same team. We will look at Philip when he returns this week, check on his fitness and if he is good to go, will be a great addition to the team,” the coach noted.

Meanwhile, leaders Homeboyz will not be resting easy with their place at the top clearly threatened. Head coach Paul Murunga has sounded a war cry saying his charges will pour out their all to protect their territory and ensure they head to Kisumu still at the top.

For Christie Sevens, they will headline Pool C having finished third at their home tournament in Eldoret and will face Western Bulls, Mwamba RFC and Nondies.

On paper, it looks like an easy pool for the defending champions but Murunga who insists his side is not under pressure says it will not be a walk in the park.

“That is a very tricky pool especially with Bulls and Mwamba. But I am usually happy when we face a tough pool because it gives us a good headstart and we end up performing well especially in the knockout phases,” Murunga said.

Homeboyz take on Mwamba RFC during the Prinsloo Sevens in Nakuru. The two meet again at the Christie Sevens after being pooled together. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He has urged his charges to maintain consistency with his minimum target being a top three finish which guarantee his side remains top.

In the other pools for this weekend’s cracker of a tournament, a resurgent Impala RFC who lost the final to Kabras in Eldoret will headline Pool B where they square out with Nakuru RFC, Mean Machine and Kisii.

Impala are placed third in the rankings, with 61 points, seven off leaders Homeboyz. Nakuru who have reached two finals this season are fifth with 56 points.

Season surprise package Menengai Oilers headline Pool B having finished fourth in Eldoret and will face KCB, BlakBlad and Daystar.

Christie Sevens pools

Pool A: Kabras Sugar, Kenya Harlequins, Strathmore Leos, Mombasa

Pool B: Impala Saracens, Nakuru, Mean Machine, Kisii

Pool C: Homeboyz, Western Bulls, Mwamba, Nondies

Pool D: Menengai Oilers, KCB, Blak Blad, Daystar