Giants KCB and Kabras clash in Kenya Cup League finals at Nandi Bears

Saturday, September 4th, 2021 00:00 |
Kabras Sugar’s captain Dan Sikuta is tackled by Barnabas Owuor of Strathmore during a past league match at the Impala grounds on March 6. Kabras won 35-9. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE

Local rugby enthusiasts are in for a major treat when arch rivals KCB lock horns with Kabras on Saturday in the Kenya Cup rugby league final to determine the league winner on the final day of the season.

The match that kicks-off at 2pm will be live on K24 TV, allowing fans to catch action the action from Nandi Bears club where fans will not be allowed to attend.

The moment of truth has finally arrived after months of feverpitch league action and the fact that fans as well as teams have longed for a final, since last year’s final was cancelled due to the corona virus pandemic.

This year’s league campaign was shorter than the previous ones as it ran for 14 regular rounds and a playoff of direct semifinals before the final that wraps up the show this weekend.

The king of the 11-team competition will be crowned after 80 minutes of pure rugby where both sides lay their faith in their game plans in a match the weather men have predicted to experience some wind and short rains.

During the last cup final played at the Kakamega show ground in 2019, KCB stunned Kabras 23-15 in a third consecutive final for the title and they will be attempting to defend the title by replicating the trend at a different venue where the hosts are still unbeaten after hosting three opponents this season.

A much improved Kabras ended KCB’s unbeaten run on August 7 with a 30-23 historic win that gives the Sugar millers the needed confidence ahead of the final.

Despite their historic win in July, the hosts soaked in 19 points against Strathmore Leos in the semis clash at the same venue to cancel the home advantage after the students who just returned to the top flight league, largely controlled their opponents half, while against KCB last month, Kabras soaked in 23 points off three tries, a conversion and two penalties in a match both sides were tied at three tries.

Kabras kicking game has been clinical, thanks to a higher conversion rate backed by accurate kickers led by former Pro 14 international tournament player of South African nationality Ntabeni Dukasi and ex-Fijian Jone Kubu who is also an experienced utility half back.

In the battle of the forwards, both sides are well balanced going by their last meeting highlighted by stoppages as both sides worked out their chances in a match KCB got two sin bins issued by center referee Victor Oduor.

The battle of the backs will this time be the highlight of the game. Kabras has lined up capable finishers including winger Derrick Ashihundu who is coming in to start after bagging a hat-trick last weekend.

The winger only tasted the last quarter of the previous meeting and scored a cancelled try.

KCB winger and Kenyan international Jacob Ojee is also coming off a hat-rick registered in their semi-final clash last weekend and will give the hosts a run for their money.

Starters to watch out for in the Kabras squad include their halfback pair of Jone Kubu and Ntabeni Dukisa, winger Derrick Ashihundu, Brian Tanga and their assistant captain and former Kenyan international Felix Ayange.

KCB will be lining up finishers including Vincent Onyala who scored a celebrated try in the previous meeting alongside vice captain Darwin Mukidza, Samuel Asati and Brian Njoroge.

The battle of the backs is what will determine the winner. Apart from the territorial kicks, penalties and drop goals will be decisive in a match both sides will not be willing to repeat exposed mistakes from the semis games from last weekend.

The Bankers were continuously warned from offside line infringements to a point a sin bin was issued while Kabras defensive ability was unmasked by students in a semifinal Strathmore claimed the second half but were too late to cancel a good half time lead by the hosts.

Both sides won their semis by five tries while the opponents managed five tries combined after failed comeback attempts.

Leos kicked off the match with a stage freight before settling in the second half while Oilers plan to finish the second half strong by resting some big guns was a plan KCB handled with a good first half.

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