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Memorable rugby moments in 2018

2018 was a busy year in the rugby scene with the Rugby 7s World Cup, Commonwealth games, Africa Gold Cup, 2019 Rugby qualifiers, Kenya Cup, National 7s Circuit and the Enterprise Cup being some of the events that took place in the year.

 Scrummage samples some of the top stories that hit the headlines in the year 2018 locally and in the international scene.

KCB dominance

Ruaraka based side KCB RFC retained the Kenya Cup title beating Kabras RFC 29-24 in a closely contested clash played at KCB Sports Club on March 24.  This marked their sixth Kenya Cup title since 2005. Curtis Olago’s charges won the league without losing a single match.

They would also defend the Impala Floodies title after a 20-18 win over Impala Saracens on October 27 at Impala Grounds.  Few month ago, The Bankers had lost the Enterprise Cup.  The Enterprise Cup went to Homeboyz who beat Impala Saracens 21-3 for the first ever silverware in the 15s version.

Homeboyz players pose with the Enterprise Cup. It was the first ever Silverware in 15s. Photo Courtesy

Homeboyz reclaim 7s

Homeboyz RFC began the 7s Circuit on a high note and they beat Mwamba at the Prinsloo and Sepetuka 7s finals to amass 44 points. They boost their title chase after beating Nakuru at the Kabeberi 7s held in Machakos.

Despite collecting 15 and 19 points at Driftwood 7 and Dala 7s, the Deejays reclaimed the National 7s Circuit title by qualifying for the Christie 7s semis… Read More…  

Kenya 7s

Kenya 7s year 2018 campaign was marred with a lot of controversial moments but that could not deter them from setting a new point record at the end of the 2017/18 campaign (104 points). The team received a major blow after bookmakers Sportpesa withdrew their sponsorship deal in April.

The exit of Sponsors could not stop Innocent Simiyu’s charges from reaching the Vancouver 7s finals. In the finals played in March,  Kenya 7s finished second after a 31-12 defeat to Fiji. In Early April they would fall to the same opponent at the Hong Kong 7s.

Kenya 7s hurdle in a past match. Photo Courtesy.

Few days to the World Cup, Kenya Rugby Union sacked head coach Simiyu after he took full responsibility of events that led to Kenya 7s blacking out sponsors Brand Kenya at final legs of the World 7s Series. He was reinstated after the intervention of Sports Cs Rashid Echesa  Read More ….

Read: Kenya 7s 2017/18 season in Numbers

The side went on to perform dismally at the World Cup.

Kenya 7s Technical Bench positions were advertised after the end of season and Union settled on National 7s Circuit winner Paul Murunga.  Murunga was not in the dugout during the Africa Cup 7s as it was Simiyu’s final assignment and the side finished second after a loss to Zimbabwe in the finals held in Morocco

Murunga’s first assignment was during the Safari 7s tournament which was back on the roster after failing to kick off in 2017.  Samurai beat Kenya 7s 21-14 and reclaimed the title they last won in 2015.

Murunga’s charges ended the year with poor show at the Dubai 7s where they failed to pick a win and Cape Town 7s where they collected three points. Read More …

The Kenya Lionesses celebrate after beating Uganda 26-7 to win a maiden Africa Women’s 7s title/photo/Rugby Afrique

Kenya Lionesses

Kenya Lionesses had a good run in 2018, they bagged Africa Women’s 7s title after beating Uganda Lady Cranes 29-7 in the final staged in Gaborone.  The side managed to book a slot in the 2019 Hong Kong 7s which serve as World 7s Series qualifiers.

Lionesses also bagged the Safari 7s title and took part in the second leg of the Women’s World 7s Series in Dubai 7s. Read more…. 

Kenya back on TV/ money prize

On October 12, KRU and Bamba Sport signed a broadcasting deal which has seen Kenya Cup matches make a return on TV. The deal means that at the end of the 2018/19 season and other upcoming seasons each team will have some cash in the bank.

Kenya Cup and KRU Championship Clubs went on to make reinforcement to their respective squad with the likes Kabras,  Kisumu and Kenya Harlequins bringing head coach Henly Du Plessis, Howard Okwemba and Charles Cardovilis to improve their technical benches.

The clubs also invested in players with Kabras bring on board South African quartet while KCB, Homeboyz and other top-tier clubs raided their rivals for top players.

Read more on 2018 transfers

The year also saw the former Kenya 7s captain and Mwamba RFC forward Humphrey Kayange retire from International Rugby.

Owala in action during the 2018 KSSSA national games at Kangaru School/photo/Eric Onchiri/KRU

Sad Moments

The death of rugby players especially promising youngster was one of the saddest moments of 2018. In July one of the most promising halfback Douglas Owala of Kakamega High passed on while undergoing treatment after picking an injury during East African games preps. Read more on Owala’s death 

Miathene also lost their captain Kenneth Mugambi who died after being stabbed as he tried to help his brother who had been attacked by robbers.

Ngong Warriors, Blak Blad, and MMUST were also hit by the sad moments as they lost Brian Adira, Morgan Andayi Emali and Sammy Mukavale respectively. MMUST centre Timothy Mmasi also lost his father while he was taking part in the Sepetuka 7s.

Which was your best moment of 2018?

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