Kenya 7s players celebrate. Photo Courtesy/World Rugby

Best and worst rugby moments of 2019


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2019 has been a great rugby year but as usual, there have been highs and lows in the 365 days.

Once again the Scrummage was there to provide coverage and here as compilations of some of the best and worst moments in 2019.

Victory! Victory! Victory!

Kenyan teams had moments of victory on the continental scene. Kenya 7s reclaimed the Africa Men’s 7s title which they had last won in 2015. This saw them extend their tally to four titles.  The team qualified for the Olympics set for 2020 in Tokyo after their win over Uganda.  Read more …

Kenya Lionesses also qualified for the Olympics despite failing to win the Africa Women’s Title.  Read more… 

Kenya Lionesses lineup in first leg encounter against Uganda. Photo Courtesy/Kisumu Rugby.

Prior to the Olympic qualifiers,  Lionesses dream of attaining the core status in the World 7s Series had been cut short by a semifinal loss to Brazil in the qualifiers.

The under 20 squad- Chipu became Barthes Cup champions on April 7 at KCB Sports Club following a 21-18 win over Namibia. Andrew Matoka’s late penalty saw Kenya qualify for the World Junior Trophy where they finished sixth.

Kenya Simbas and Kenya Lionesses would defend the Elgon Cup after beating Uganda in both categories. Read More… 

The two teams also finished second in the Victoria Cup and Africa Women’s World Cup Qualifiers respectively.  After the World Cup qualifiers, Kenya Lionesses 15s side rose to 25th on the World Rankings. It is the best ever position in history.

Johnstone Olindi in action for Kenya 7s against South Africa. Photo Courtesy/Denis Acre-half

The Safari 7s title was reclaimed by a Kenyan side with Morans outwitting South Africa at RFUEA Grounds to be crowned champions following 19-14 win.

Earlier in the year, Kenya 7s had tough moments as most of the senior players stayed away from the squad protesting slashed salaries and they were also demanding a better working environment. Kenya 7s needed the last tournament – Paris to survive the chop. Read more…

Kenya 7s players open up 

Senior Players who did not report to camp despite KRU’s statement that they had reached an agreement ahead of Hong Kong 7s opened up on their troubles.

Collins Injera revealed that staying away from the camp was to ensure that there is a better environment for the current crop of players and the upcoming players. Read more…

Dennis Ombachi and Willy Ambaka also spoke on the challenges they faced while in Camp. Read more…

KCB/Kabras/Oilers

KCB bagged the Kenya Cup title,  National 7s Circuit and the Impala Floodlit trophy but they missed out on the Enterprise Cup.

Kabras, on the other hand, claimed the first-ever Enterprise Cup and reclaimed the Mwamba Cup beating Impala and Strathmore. The win came after a home loss to KCB in the Kenya Cup final. Read more … 

Kabras’s Asuman Mugerwa forces his way to the try-line against KCB. Photo Courtesy/Denis Acre-half.

It’s a year that Kabras beat KCB for the first time. It was a special win for Kabras as it came at KCB Sports Club. Read more…

Kabras second-string side had also beaten KCB II en route to their Mwamba Cup win. Read more… 

Oilers were able to win their first-ever trophy beating Homeboyz to clinch the Great Rift 10s. Gibson Weru coached side also won Embu 7s prior to the National 7s Circuit campaign.

New Coaches 

Kenya 7s got a new Head coach Paul Feeney ahead of the 2019/20 season and it was announced that he would also help the other National Squads.  Read more…

It was the same case for Kenya Simbas squad, they started the International season with a new Head Coach Paul Odera. Under Odera many youngsters got a chance in the National Team.

Ngong Road-based sides Impala and Kenya Harlequins also appointed new coaches as well as Kisumu, Nakuru RFC and Western Bulls. Strathmore Leos brought in Louis Kisia from Mwamba while Howard Okwemba returned to management after moving to South Coast Pirates

Kenya Rugby Union also got a new chairman Odour Gangla who took over the reigns from Richard Omwela. Read More

Sad moments/ Deaths

The Kenya Rugby Fraternity was thrown into mourning state on several occasions. First, it was the death of Richard Sidindi that left the nation in a sombre mood.  Technical University prop Job Sindani was found dead days after disappearing on the Christie 7s weekend.

USIU lost Derrick Obiero while Muhuri Muchiri youngster Daniel Omari Mokua drowned before the National School games.  MMUST patron Fedrick Otieno passed away in December.

Later in the year, Kenya Rugby offices were raided by Auctioneers over unpaid debts. Read more…

Transfers 

Kenyan players got chances to play abroad and with Brad Owako getting a six-month stint in Spain. Read more…

Joshua Chisanga would return to Poland for another stint and this time round he tagged along Emmanuel Mavala who was a fellow teammate at Homeboyz. Read More…

Joshua Chisanga in action against Warszawa. Photo Courtesy/Krzysztof MUDIN Lewandowski

KCB signed four Kenyan Internationals Patrick Ouko, Shadon Munoko, Johnstone Olindi and Levy Amunga. The new signs would then play a role in their National 7s success. Read more…

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Kabras were dealt a blow after Philip Wokorach moved to France after winning the Enterprise Cup with the Sugarmen. Read more…

They had released three South Africans and brought in Homeboyz duo Keith Ibwanga and Willian Diffu while Fijian centre Timoci Senaite and South African Ntabeni Dukisa joined before the 7s campaign. Former Kenyan International Lawrence Buyachi and Alfred Orege joined the team before Kenya Cup kicked off.

Impala made six signings among them Steve Otieno from Homeboyz. Oilers signed Kenyan international Dalmus Chituyi who was joined by six other players.

Samurai 7s at Amsterdam 7s. Photo Courtesy/Samurai Rugby

Kenyan Stars in international tournaments

Besides transfers, Kenyan players got a chance to feature in International tournaments with invitational sides. Willy Ambaka and Oscar Ouma were part of the Inaugural Rugby X. See how they performed…

Ouma, Billy Odhiambo, Collins Injera, Felix Ayange and Michael Agevi were part of Samurai’s European tour, winning Algarve 7s.

Sammy Oliech, Ouma and other stars took part in the Hong Kongs 10s tournament.

Awards and Nominations

Kenya 7s captain Andrew Amonde received the head of state commendation after a stellar performance in 2019. Read More…

Ugandan star Wokorach had walked away with the Top Try Scorer award after the Kenya Cup and the Most Valuable Player award at Enterprise Cup after the 2018/19 season.

Impressive performance with the Kenya Lionesses would hand Janet Okello the Athlete of the Year award at Magharibi Michezo Gala . Austin Sikutwa was named the Male Player of the year at the awards held in Bungoma.   Read more…

Onyala scores for KCB in their win over Kisii. Photo Courtesy/Scrummage.

Vincent Onyala was the Most Valuable Player in the National 7s Circuit while Kakamega High’s Collins Indeche was the best player at East African games. Read more…

Menengai Oilers awarded the best players as well Kabras and Kenya Cup Champions KCB.

Relegation and Promotion

2019 is the year that Strathmore Leos’ 11 years in the top tier came to an end. Leos dropped to the second tier after a falling to Blak Blad on the final day of the 2018/19 season. Read more… 

Kisumu and Western Bulls were promoted to the top tier after wins over Catholic Monks and USIU to replace Machine and Strathmore.

Bans, suspensions and court sentences

Kenya Harlequins didn’t have a good year as duo Frank Wanyama and Alex Olaba were handed a 15 year in jail after being found guilty following a rape case. Read more… 

Their former head coach Charles Cardovillis and Team Manager Godfrey Okoth were suspended following remarks on officiating during the 7s Season. They were later handed lengthy bans thereafter. Read more…

MMUST forward Venance Shikuba, Nakuru RFC’s Tyson Asiago were some of the players that received bans and suspensions.

School games 

Kenya Schools proved superior at the East African games with Upperhill bagging the 7s East African title while Kakamega High were crowned the Champions in 15s. Read more…

Kakamega had won the National Title for the eighth time in the history of the School Games and the Prescott Cup. Read More…

Kakamega high celebrate after being crowned 15s Champions. Photo Courtesy/ Alvin Wesonga

More rugby in Kakamega/Kisumu/Nakuru

Kakamega got to host the Kenya Cup final for the first time ever and a huge crowd turned up for the clash. The first National 7s Circuit tournament- Kakamega 7s was also hosted in Kakamega and KCB emerged winners. 

Nakuru and Kisumu also hosted Kenya Simbas matched against Zimbabwe and Uganda respectively.

On the International scene, Crusaders retained Super Rugby while South Africa became World Champions.

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Luvisia Tisa

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