What you need to know:
- Two rugby giants Kabras Sugar Rugby and defending champions KCB Rugby for the second time in less than a month travel to Nandi Bears Club for the battle
- They have met 13 times since their first encounter in 2014 but the bankers have had the lion’s share, winning in nine encounters
- Kabras Sugar have made their intentions clear this season beating KCB 30-23 at Nandi Bear Sports Club to top the regular 2021 season unbeaten
The die has been cast and Nandi County that is best known for quality tea and athletics personalities hosts its first Kenya Cup final.
Two rugby giants Kabras Sugar Rugby and defending champions KCB Rugby for the second time in less than a month travel to Nandi Bears Club for the battle.
The two sides are almost evenly matched with burly forwards and innovative backs hence small details are what will make the difference.
They have met 13 times since their first encounter in 2014 but the bankers have had the lion’s share, winning in nine encounters. The sugar millers have won twice with one match ending in a draw.
They have met four times in the Kenya Cup final where KCB ended up carrying the day in all.
But Kabras Sugar have made their intentions clear this season beating KCB 30-23 at Nandi Bear Sports Club to top the regular 2021 season unbeaten.
Whether the victory will give them an upper hand heading to the final is yet to be seen. Their only other victory, 19-6 in Ruaraka, was during the 2019/20 season that failed to end after coronavirus outbreak.
Kabras Sugar had topped the regular 2021 season unbeaten in 10 matches while KCB, who finished second, lost only once to the sugar millers.
Menengai Oilers finished third with Strathmore Leos coming fourth to all reach the semi-finals of the season that was interrupted with lockdowns.
Winger Derrick Ashiundu landed a hat-trick of tries as Kabras Sugar defeated Strathmore Leos 39-19 in the semis at Nandi Bear last Saturday.
And across approximately 317.6km apart, another winger Jacob Ojee also landed three tries to spur KCB Rugby to a 35-17 victory against battling Menengai Oilers at KCB Sports Club, Ruaraka to set up the final.
“We want to start on a high tempo and avoid the mistakes we made last time we met, the missed tackles and discipline issues. We shall avoid unnecessary penalties and be clinical in the rucks besides cleaning offside lines,” said KCB fullback Darwin Mukidza, who captained the team in the semis.
“We are not worried since this is a familiar road. We respect Kabras since they have been our worthy opponents, having worked hard. They say cometh the hour, cometh the man.
“We are ready and coming with different networks. This is a big final and it's disappointing when we can't have fans at the stadium,” said KCB Rugby deputy coach Dennis Mwanja.
Scrum-half, Brian Tanga, who leads the try scoring charts with seven touchdowns, once again takes the centre stage at Kabras’ second title chase.
History counts for nothing
Kabras head coach Dominique Habimana will also rely on utility back Ntabeni Dukisa, who is the current highest points scorer with 103 drawn from three tries, seven penalties and 36 conversions, Ashiundu and Felix Ayange among others.
“The good thing about the final is that past wins or losses count little and as for the margin, a single point is enough to win,” noted Habimana, who declared that his boys are ready for the big game.
With injured prop Curtis Lilako, who is second in the try charts with six touchdowns, out Mukidza, retains the captaincy with Ojee and fly-half Johnstone Olindi out to lead the bankers’ assault.
KCB and Kabras met for the first time in the final during the 2014/15 season where the bankers triumphed 27-3, having won 13-3 in the regular season. This was Kabras Sugar’s first season at the Kenya Cup.
The only time Kabras reached the final to claim their maiden Kenya Cup glory was during the 2015/16 when they beat Impala Saracens 22-5.
KCB went on recapture the title during the 2016/17 season, beating Kabras 36-8 in the final before retaining the diadem in 2017/18, taming the sugar millers 29-24 in the final.
Then KCB would triumph 23-15 in Kakamega when the Kenya Cup final was played outside Nairobi for the first time.
Moses Ndung'u will once again be the centre referee assisted by Constant Cap and Godwin Karuga.
15. Jone Kubu, 14. Felix Ayange (v.c), 13. Timouci Senaite, 12. Bryceson Adaka, 11. Derrick Ashihundu, 10. Ntubeni Dukisa, 9. Brian Tanga, 8. Jeanson Misoga, 7. Dan Sikuta (C), 6. George Nyambua, 5. Brian Juma, 4. Hilary Odhiambo, 3. Asuman Mugerwa, 2. Eugene Sifuna, 1. Hilary Mwajilwa.
16. Teddy Akala, 17. Joseph Odero, 18. Ephraim Oduor, 19. Kevin Wakesa, 20. Collins Indeche, 21. Barry Robinson, 22. Valerian Tendwa, 23. Alfred Orege
15. Darwin Mukidza (Captain), 14. Isaac Njoroge, 13. Vincent Onyala, 12. Peter Kilonzo, 11. Jacob Ojee, 10. Johnstone Olindi, 9. Samuel Asati, 8. Rocky Anguko, 7. Andrew Amonde, 6. Steve Wamai, 5. Oliver Mang'eni, 4. Nick Ongeri, 3. Patrick Ouko, 2. Griffin Mustika, 1. Oscar Simiyu
16. James Ochieng, 17. George Gichure, 18. Nelson Nyandat, 19. Brian Munyali, 20. Felix Ojoo, 21. Michael Wanjala, 22. Shaban Ahmed 23. Levy Amunga
Third Place play-off
Menengai Oilers v Strathmore Leos 12.00pm
Referee: Beryl Akinyi
Assistant Referees: Noreen Liyosi and Duncan Kioko
Kabras Sugar v KCB 2.00pm
Referee: Moses Ndung'u
Assistant Referees: Godwin Karuga and Constant Cap