NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – Having stayed three years without lifting the Christie Sevens title at their backyard, Kenya Harlequin veteran Patrice Agunda has fired warning to other teams that they will be out to end the title drought when the final leg of the 2018 National Series concludes this weekend at the RFUEA Grounds.
Quins, the hosts, last won the Christie 7s title in 2015 when they blanked KCB RFC 19-0 and Agunda speaking to Capital Sport said with the boost of Kenya Sevens players William Ambaka and Eden Agero, the Cup is ‘Coming Home’.
The Ngong Road based club has not reached any Cup final this season and first task will be to maneuver a tricky Pool C that has bitter rivals and neighbors Impala Saracens, Northern Suburbs and Emerging Uganda 7s.
“For the previous legs we have had mixed results having won the Plate, Shield and reached the Cup semis, we have been out and about, but for this last one, we want to give a consistence performance, play six good games and ensure the Cup is Coming Home,” Agunda told Capital Sport.
He added, “Christie is special because it has gone international, we have teams from Russia, Uganda and South Africa. The last time we won it was in 2015, we want to please our fans, they have been loyal to us and its only right that we return the favour.”
About the Pool, Agunda who has been part of the Quins set-up for the last decade, was upbeat that they will pull through, especially getting one over Impala who beat them in the last leg at Dala 7s.
“The Pool is tricky but the positive thing is that for every game, there is no game that we have lost hands down, its just focusing on our processes and working on our game plan because we have the team to do it, its us to concentrate and we will carry the Cup at the end of the day. We are going to win against impala it’s not negotiable,” a confident Agunda remarked.
“The inclusion of Sevens players like Ambaka brings a bit of composure to the game, they understand it more since they play on international level hence they bring positive vibe, we want to see our fans enjoy and play beautiful rugby.”
Quins, who stand no chance of winning the overall Series title sit 7th in the standings on 51 points, three behind 6th placed Impala Saracens.
The title will be out for grab between leaders Homeboyz, second placed Mwamba and third placed KCB RFC.
Mwamba head to Christie 7s with 92 points, eight behind leaders Homeboyz and will need to win the Main Cup, collecting 22 points and hope Homeboyz fails to reach the Cup quarters for them to reclaim the national title for the first time since 2011.
The Dejeeys on the other end only needs to get into the Cup semis to win the national title for the first time since 2016.
However, the advantaged Homeboyz could finish the job early if they reach the Challenge Trophy final and hope Mwamba fail to get into the Cup semis.
KCB, who are third on 81 points, also stand a chance mathematically to be crowned champions but only if in the rare occasion, Homeboyz and Mwamba fall to the Shield semi-finals.
-Agunda on Simbas repechage-
Meanwhile, Agunda who played for the Kenya 15s team has tipped the Simbas to make the historic statement at the repechage and qualify to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Agunda, 28, backed the inclusion of Kenya Sevens players; speedster Collins Injera, Sammy Oliech, Andrew Amonde, Nelson Oyoo and Dennis Ombachi to the Simbas squad as head coach Ian Snook looks to give a final shot on booking the lone spot of the global showpiece.
“Nothing is impossible, but players have to dig deep, it’s not going to be easy, they have to play for each other and put the system right, definitely we must support our own and we are hoping for the best so let’s see how it goes, but it’s going to be tough journey but as long as they are ready nothing is possible,” Agunda, who last played for Simbas in August 2017, said.
“Adding experience brings oomph to the team, big boost to the squad all we can do is to wait the effect it will have it the team with the friendlies,” He added.
Simbas are scheduled to face African Champions Namibia and Romania in build-up matches.
-Quins on 2019 Kenya Cup-
On the Kenya Cup, Agunda is keen that the club have rebuild and has what it takes to reclaim the title for the first time since 2012.
Quins are hunting for a new head coach who will be tasked to taking the giant club back to its glorious days.
“The past two years we have been in a building phase, the seniors left in large groups so we have been trying to get out combinations right. We want to bring the Cup home, we want to win a silverware. The upcoming floodies will be a good platform to gauge out fitness. Our target is to take a game at a time and give our fans what they deserve,” Agunda, who once played the role of player-coach said.
“We need a coach who will understand kind of players that he has and develop a plan around the players so that it becomes more practical and build it from there. We are looking forward to working with the new coach.