The tenth edition of the Bamburi Rugby Super Series kicks off on Saturday 5 May 2012 with four matches at venues in Nairobi, Kampala and Mombasa. Fans at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds will be treated to a double header when the SDV Transami Cheetahs play the Nguvu Sharks in the early kick offf at 2.00pm.
The Cheetahs, comprise of three neighboring top tier clubs within the vicinity of Ngong Road, namely Impala, Nondies and Homeboyz and are complimented by lower tier sides Comras and Multi-Media University. The Cheetahs won their first title in 2004, repeating this feat in 2006 and are yet to add to this tally, losing in two successive finals in 2010 and 2011. They couldn’t have asked for a more difficult fixture, as their opponents on the day , the Nguvu Sharks, an amalgamation of Kenyan university sides, are no pushers, reaching the semi finals last year and will look to start their 2012 campaign on a high.
The Cheetahs’ squad boasts of plenty of experience, Impala’s evergreen duo of Frank Ndong and Moses Kola alongside Nondies backrow man Ben Nyambu have all had great experiences at this stage. The debutants, notably Steve Sakwa who recently earned his first national cap during the Elgon Cup’s first leg fixture in Kampala and his Homeboyz team mate Leonard Mugaisi will add diversity to the Cheetahs. Throw the likes of Lawi Buyachi, Leslie Ochieng, Duncan Ekasi, Nato Simiyu, Ronnie Mwenesi and Kevin Umbuge and the Cheetahs look like a formidable side.
The Sharks consist of Kenyan University sides, two of which are regulars in top flight Kenya cup league, the two Strathmore Leos and Mean Machine alongside lower tier sides who include Nationwide 2011-12 champions Blak Blad, Catholic, Daystar, JKUAT, KCA, Kenya Poly, Nazarene and USIU.
Casting our eyes to Saturday’s fixture, fans will be a treat to a repeat of last year’s semi final .The Cheetahs proceeded to the final from that one, courtesy of a 22-7 win over the Sharks.The Sharks will be out for revenge after the Cheetahs slammed the brakes on what looked like a promising campaign for the university students until that point.
The Cheetahs dominated the better part of that match and will be looking to replicate that performance this weekend and cement their dominance over the Sharks as they kick off this year’s title challenge..The Sharks on the other hand will be looking to turn around that result and put the ghosts of last year and start this campaign on a high note. This is bound to be an interesting match as Sharks’ Joel Omer comes up against his team mates at Impala among other great match ups all round.
This match will pave way for defending champions UAP Rhinos clash against Ugandan side Victoria at 4.00pm. The Rhinos will be looking to carry on with their dominance over Ugandan opposition that has seen them win all their fixtures against their next door neighbours.
Victoria, semi finalists in 2010, had a disappointing outing last year by their standards, failing to make it past the pool stages, what better way to put all that behind than by beating the defending champions. Matches between the neighbours have been explosive over the last years and this one should not be any different. Especially when you consider the fact that Victoria houses the Uganda champions, MTN Heathens while the Rhinos have Kenyan Champions the Lunch Bar Quins and Menengai Oil Nakuru in their ranks.
Uganda’s Rwenzori play host to the The Mumias Sugar Buffaloes at the Kampala RUFC grounds, as they look to improve on what was a great outing for them last year where they finished third and unveiled 2011 BRSS top try scorer Justin Kimono to the world. Rwenzori fell to eventual winners Rhinos at the semi final and will be looking to start this year’s campaign on a winning note. This will be the second time the two are facing off, last year Rwenzori beat the Buffaloes 28-17 at the Mumias Sports complex. The home side will be looking to their supporters to push them on against what looks like a tricky Buffaloes side. As they aim to replicate if not better last year’s performance.
The Mumias Sugar Buffaloes have come a long way from the inexperienced franchise that failed to win a single game last year. Since then, Kisumu RFC have gone through a whole season at Kenya’s top flight the Kenya Cup and the Western Bulls have put in great performances in the second tier Eric Shirley Shield. It is safe to say that the Rwenzori will not be facing the same Buffaloes side they faced a year ago and the western based franchise will fancy their chances of winning their first match in the Bamburi Rugby Super Series.
Lions travel to Mombasa to face the Coastal Bulls, it will be the second time they are making this trip.Last year a Dennis Mwanja inspired the Lions to a 36-8 win over their hosts.This was however the only win for the Lions in last year’s edition and they will be hoping that another win here will start off a different set of fortunes for them.
The Coastal Bulls are boosted by a host of guest players and will be looking to cause an upset and record their first win in their short history when the lions come calling on Saturday.The Bulls have the likes of Benjamin Ojema and Sebastien Shivoka in their rank, the pair who play for KCB will know how to handle most of the Lions players thus making for interesting match ups on the field of play.
-with additional reporting from Peter Ndonga
Saturday 5th May 2012
Cheetahs v Sharks 2.00pm RFUEA, Nairobi (Live on DSTV)
Coastal Bulls v Lions, 4.30pm Mombasa Sports Club, Mombasa
Rhinos v Victoria 4.00pm, RFUEA, Nairobi (Live on DSTV)
Rwenzori v Buffaloes 4.00pm, Kampala RUFC, Kampala (live on DSTV)
Charges: Ksh 200 (Ksh 100 for Supervised and Organized Student Groups in School Uniform)