Shamas, Kabarak secure wins to earn rugby promotions
Shamas Rugby Foundation club and Kabarak University have been picked to replace Mombasa and Kisii Rugby clubs after both securing wins in their respective Nationwide league semifinals in Nairobi and Kitale at the weekend.
The 2021/22 season which is set to kick off on November 27 will see the two teams battle ten sides in the quest for promotion to the top flight 15 aside rugby league in Kenya - The Kenya Cup. Shamas overpowered Daystar Falcons 17-13 at the RFUEA grounds whilst Kabarak University beat hosting Kitale RFC 22-20 loss to have the bragging rights.
In Nairobi, Shamas set up a thrilling repeat of the 2020 Nairobi Region final where they won 28-25.
A 14-man Shamas came from behind twice to regain the lead for a 17-13 full-time 17-13 win despite losing flyhalf Daniel Oyoo who was sent off for a vicious tackle.
Daystar opened the scoring with a drop goal by skipper John Oliele which was boosted by unconverted try by fullback Emmanuel Opondo for an 8-0 lead.
Winger Eric Shikuku hauled in his markers to score a try converted by fullback Ham Namisi to bring the scores to 7-8.
A successful maul then gave leeway for substitute Joseph Kangethe to score a comeback try that saw the scores read 12-8 at the break.
Second half resumption got Shamas playmaker Daniel Oyoo sent off for a high tackle but Daystar failed to cash in on the numerical advantage.
Daystar Falcons failed to score two crucial penalties but managed to land their second half try by Michael Odhiambo to regain the lead.
However, unperturbed, the hosts retaliated with their second half try through Horace Alela to shoot up for a 17-13 lead which they held until the final whistle.
The other semi held in Kitale was an upset for the hosts who threw up a 13-6 half time lead to lose 22-20 at full time.
The semi was also a repeat of the Rift Valley region final won by Kitale off a 30-9 thriller.
Each side converted two tries but it was the visitors who enjoyed the benefits of having a good solid kicking game for the win.
Fly half Lawrence Wamalwa gave Kitale a 6-0 lead after the opening ten minutes before fullback Opande Otieno replied back with two leveller penalties.
The hosts back rower John Nganga scored a try which was cooly converted by Wamalwa to head to the breather leading 13-6.
Opande Otieno scored a penalty to cut the deficit to a four points gap but a penalty try would later be awarded to the visitors after Owuor Okoth’s dangerous play resulting into his team conceding a try. Okoth was sent to the bin for ten minutes with his team trailing 20-9.