What you need to know:
- Kabras retained the Kenya Cup unbeaten both in the regular campaign and knockout stages last season.
It was a match that many thought a resurgent Kenya Harlequin would give champions Kabras Sugar a strong challenge and perhaps end their unbeaten run that has now stretched to the second season.
Kabras retained the Kenya Cup unbeaten both in the regular campaign and knockout stages last season.
And they are yet to taste defeat since their 28-20 defeat to KCB on February 26, 2022 during the Kenya Cup regular season.
Kabras produced a masterclass in the second half to blow away Quins 50-22 in a crispy Kenya Cup match played at the RFUEA ground on Saturday.
At one time, Quins, the eight-time champions, sensed victory with their backline producing a masterpiece, as they scored three tries to take the lead 22-19 at the break.
It was the first time Kabras Sugar, who are chasing their fourth Kenya Cup title, conceded more than one try, with Kisumu Rugby Club being the only team that had scored a try against them this season.
Kabras still rolled out an emphatic 72-10 victory against returnees Kisumu in the 2023/2024 season-opening match on December 2 at the Kakamega Showground.
But after a pep talk from their coach, Carlos Katywa, at the break Kabras Sugar came back strong and resolute.
Precisely, Kabras Sugar’s astute bench turned on style with an improved backline and restarts, in addition to a dominant forward display doing the talk to silence Quins with eight tries and five conversions.
Hooker Eugene Sifuna landed a brace of tries while centres Derrick Ashiundu and Walter Okoth, wingers Lameck Ambetsa and Mathis Osimbo scored a try apiece.
Also to enter the score charts for Kabras were Ugandan international forward Asuman Mugurwa and second-row Brian Juma.
Hooker Adam Mugo, scrum-half Cornelius Mokoro and winger Charles Kinyanjui had landed a try each to give Quins hopes of beating Kabras for the first time in almost seven years.
Katywa said that lack of good line speed, communication at the back and poor restarts gave Quins breathing space in the first half, but that changed after the pep talk at half time.
“But congratulations to Quins since they were the first team to test our resilience, put us under pressure in defence and scored three tries against us,” said Katywa, adding that many thought that Quins would be the team to end their unbeaten run that has stretched to the second season.
“That was stuck in the mind of my boys and brought anxiety,” explained Katywa, adding that the combination between Ashiundu and Okoth, who replaced Bryson Adaka, is yet to click.
“That is why the backline was a bit slow but it’s also good to remember that Ashiundu, who was coming from a two-year break owing to an injury, is yet to regain his confidence. He was also out for two week also with an injury and psychologically it can take a toll on him,” said Katywa.
Ashiundu, who is the leading try scorer this season, stretched his tally to 11 tries after the duel against Quins.
“Their backline was better than us unlike the first half. Kabras have depth and that is why their forwards were dominant. They had the ball to score at will,” said Quins coach Paul “Pau” Murunga.
Elsewhere, Mwamba, the 1983 champions, continued to rise from the dead, beating Strathmore University Leos 27-7 at the varsity ground, Madaraka, as former champions KCB dismantled hosts Kisumu 64-10 at the Kisumu Polytechnic.
Kabras Sugar and KCB are the only sides yet to lose this season after the eighth round of matches.
Kenya Kenya up results:
Quins 22-50 Kabras Sugar; Kisumu 10-64 KCB; Strathmore Leos 7-27 Mwamba; Menengai Oilers 31-Nondies 18; Blak Blad 28-22 Catholic Monks; Nakuru 26-15 Homeboyz