The National 7s Series will enter the penultimate stage this weekend and 16 teams will make a trip to RFUEA Grounds of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 for the 53rd edition of the Christie 7s.
Hosts Kenya Harlequins have dominated this tournament by winning it on 11 different ocassions. Mean Machine have nine titles while Mwamba and Impala have eight titles each to their name.
KCB (four titles), defunct Barclays (three titles), Nondies (three titles), Defunct Ulinzi (two titles) and Kabras are other winners of the Kenya’s oldest 7s tournament.
Last five finals
Last season Kabras outwitted Homeboyz and won the first ever sevens main Cup title. Aluda Beda, Dan Sikuta, Kaboole Kevin and Perminus Macharia were on target for Kabras while Homeboyz scored through Kenya 7s International Bush Mwale.
They took the title from host Quins who had won it 2015. In the finals the Ngong road based club overpowered KCB for a 19-0 victory. William Mawira’s brace and Johnstone Munga’o’s try was enough for Quins. The victory saw Quins end a three year wait for main cup trophy in their home tournament.
Three years earlier, Quins had beaten Mwamba 31-12. Felix Ayange scored twice while one try each from Patrice Agunda, Allan Omuka and Wilson Kopondo reduced Collins Injera and Edgar Abere early tries for Mwamba to consolations. The victory also ensured that the side ended another three year wait for the main cup trophy in their home tournament.
2012 and 2013 was KCB’s year. They beat Quins in the 2013 season courtesy of tries from Andrew Amonde and Edwin Salamba and won the the overall Series.
As the Christie 7s marked 50 years of existence in 2014, host Quins failed to sparkle and it was their neighbors Impala who made to the final of the tournament but ended up falling to Mwamba RFC 24-14.
Quins is placed in Pool A alongside defending champs Kabras, Strathmore Leos and MKU. A date with Sugarmen means there will be a reunion between Coach Charles Cardovillis, Johnstone Munga’o, Felix Ayange and their former employers Quins. Being a home tournament Quins will not be taking chances and will want to impress infront of home fans. Having failed to reach the finals of the last four tournament they will keen to make use of the home advantage.
Defending Champions Kabras are fresh from Sepetuka 7s win, they will be eager to become the first side to win two main cup title this season and two in a row. All team that have made a final appearance this season have struggled in the subsequent tournament and Cardovillis charges will be hoping to overcome that and keep their overall title dream alive. The two will face a stiff competition for the last eight spot from Strathmore who struggled at Sepetuka 7s and promoted MKU Thika.
Impala who hold a record of the only side to have made two final appearances this season will be hoping to dance again in their neighbors backyard. The side won the Kabeberi 7s title at RFUEA and will be aiming for another fine run this weekend as they return to the venue. The Gazelles will however need to do well against Nakuru RFC who have only missed to play in the quarters once and Machine who will be fighting for the first quarter final slot since Driftwood. Kisii is also in the pool and will be pushing to avoid another chop.
Pool C seems to be the pool of Death, Homeboyz, Bulls, Mwamba and Nondies are all grouped together. Homeboyz have managed just one final appearance in the series this season and they will trail their guns on another final appearance or a triumph which will be a shot in the arm in this year’s race. For Bulls they will be targeting another impressive run after Sepetuka 7s while Mwamba and Nondies strive to rise again from inconsistencies.
Key battles in the final pool will be between KCB and Menengai Oilers. The last time KCB failed to cross over to the quarters was in Mombasa and since then they have made three straight quarterfinal appearances. Oilers on the other hand had a fine run till Prinsloo where the performed dismally. Gibson Weru coached side however bounced back at Sepetuka to reach Semi finals of the tournament. The coach will be keen to avoid a slip as the season finale approaches.
Blad and Daystar
Blak Blad and Daystar are not to be underrated. They warmed up for Christie tournament by participating in the Kings of Rugby final leg at Maseno. Blad finished third after falling narrowly to eventual winners University of Johannesburg as Daystar bowed out at the quarters. They will be oozing with confidence coming to this because of match fitness but they might be affected by fatigue of having not rested as other teams took a break.
Who are backing to win this tournament ? Let us know in the comments section…