KENYA CUP

Kenya Cup final: Kabras vs KCB preview

Despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 Kenya Cup season has reached the final stage and rugby fanatics will be able to witness another final after the 2019/20 season was cut short by the pandemic.

For the second time in a row, the Kenya Cup final is set to be hosted outside the Nairobi city, with Kabras RFC earning the hosting rights once again, having finished top of the log in the regular season.

Once again, it will be Kabras RFC up against Kenya Cup holders KCB Rugby. The match will be staged at the Nandi Bears Club on Saturday 4 April 2021 at 2:00 PM.

Kabras opted to host the match at Nandi Bears Club which has hosted their final three home matches in the run-up to the Kenya Cup final.

Head to Head

This will be the 13th Kenya Cup meeting between Kabras RFC and KCB. KCB have a 79.17% win rate in this fixture having won nine, drawn once and lost twice.

The bankers have a 100% win record in the finals against Kabras, winning all the last four encounters. In those four finals, they have scored 115 points and have conceded 50.

Kabras have come close in the last two finals, losing by five points in the 2018 final (29-24) and by eight (23-15) in the 2019 final hosted in Kakamega.

The Kakamega Based side has won the last two recent meetings against the bankers. The last meeting at Nandi Bears Club saw Kabras win 30-23.

Head to Head record

Kabras RFC 30-23 KCB RFC

KCB Rugby 6-19 Kabras RFC

Kabras RFC 15-23 KCB Rugby- Final

KCB Rugby 44-20 Kabras RFC

KCB Rugby 29-24 Kabras RFC-Final

KCB Rugby 41-12 Kabras RFC

KCB Rugby 36-8 Kabras RFC-Final

KCB Rugby 22-17 Kabras RFC

Kabras RFC 15-15 KCB Rugby

KCB Rugby 40-15 Kabras RFC

KCB Rugby 27-3 Kabras RFC -Final

KCB Rugby 13-3 Kabras RFC

Kabras RFC

It will be Kabras’ sixth Kenya Cup final since their promotion in 2014. They have managed just one win in the last five final appearances. The win was against Impala Saracens when they beat the Gazelles 22-5 at Impala Club on May 7 2016 to be crowned Champions.

The other four finals have been against KCB and have bounced the bankers’ way. Kabras head to this hoping to match KCB’s 2017/18 record which saw them go the whole season unbeaten to claim the Kenya Cup sixth title.

The Sugarmen have a 100% win record this season winning all their matches before the finals. They beat Strathmore Leos 39-19 in the semis last weekend to reach the final for the sixth time in a row.

They are enjoying a 19-match winning run that stretches way back from 21 December 2019.

Their last defeat came on 14 December when they narrowly lost 20-17 to Homeboyz in a 2019/20 regular season clash.

South African Coach Jerome Muller and Dominique Habimana -a Kenya Cup winner with Nakuru and Quins will be hoping to help Kabras end a five-year wait for the Kenya Cup title.

They will be looking upon senior players such Dan Sikuta, Felix Ayange, Brian Tanga, George Nyambua, Hillary Mwanjilwa, Jone Kubu and Asuman Mugerwa to lead the side in the quest.

Nyambua, Tanga, Mwanjilwa and Kubu will be hoping to win the second Kenya Cup title with the Kakamega based side.

Kabras record in Kenya Cup final

Kabras RFC 15-23 KCB Rugby-2019

KCB Rugby 29-24 Kabras RFC -2018

KCB Rugby 36-8 Kabras RFC – 2017

Impala Saracens 5-22 Kabras RFC -2016

KCB Rugby 27-3 Kabras RFC -2015

KCB Rugby

KCB Rugby will be featuring in their sixth Kenya Cup final since 2013. In the previous five, they have picked four wins including a three-peat between 2017 to 2019.

All their last four wins have been against Kabras RFC and the last time they failed to win a Kenya Cup final was in 2014. They lost 20-13 to Nakuru, then coached by Habimana who is currently with Kabras.

With the majority of the players and technical bench members in the current squad having been part of the three-peat winning squad, the side will be hoping to join the likes of Nondies and Impala Saracens on the list of teams that have won the Kenya Cup four times in a row.

When they won the 2019 title, KCB assistant coach Dennis Mwanja revealed their intention to retain the title five times in a row. He said: “We had a vision which looked unbelievable at the start- when we said we need to win it (Kenya Cup) five times in a row. This is the third time in a row and we are in it for a long overhaul. We still have a big dream of winning it five times in a row.”

Being in this final offers them a chance to be four-peat Champions and claim the eighth Kenya Cup title. They reached their fourth consecutive final since 2017 after beating Menengai Oilers 35-17 in the semis played on Saturday.

It was after nine wins in 10 matches in the regular season which earned them 44 points out of the possible 50 for a second-place finish on the table.

KCB record in their last five finals

Kabras RFC 15-23 KCB Rugby-2019

KCB Rugby 29-24 Kabras RFC -2018

KCB Rugby 36-8 Kabras RFC – 2017

KCB Rugby 27-3 Kabras RFC-2015

KCB Rugby 13-20 Nakuru RFC-2014

Where the match could be won

Being a final pitting the best teams in the country at the moment, the match promises to be a close contest and an entertaining one.

Here are some of the aspects that could decide the game:

Clinicality/defence

Both sides head to this encounter as the best offensive sides in the league with Kabras having scored 440 points before the final while KCB have scored 348 points. They also have the best defensive records in the league this season with Kabras having conceded just 100 points in the last 11 matches while KCB have let in 164 points in their last 11.

Wasted chances may turn out costly and the side that will make their chances count in the clash is likely to carry the day.

Bench power

The bench power has decided this clash on several occasions. An example is 2019 final where KCB brought in the likes of Shaban Ahmed -who scored a try that put the game beyond Kabras. Veterans Brian Nyikuli, Moses Amusala and experienced Michael Wanjala played a major role in the win.

A similar case had also been witnessed earlier in that in a clash which ended 44-20 in KCB’s favour. Kabras have since worked on their replacements and how the fresh legs will keep their cool in the crucial stages of the match for both sides could determine who carries the day.

Kicking

Kicking, especially for points will be key in such a final. It could the decider if the defences stand tall and cannot be penetrated.

The two teams head to this final with the best points scorers in the league this season. Ntabeni Dukisa who lifted Kabras past KCB in the regular-season meeting has 103 points following 36 conversions, seven penalties and three tries. His closest challenger Darwin Mukidza has 49 points off 13 conversions, six penalties and a try.

When they met at Nandi Bears Club, Dukisa drilled 15 points for Kabras to win the match 30-23. Mukidza on the other hand had 13 points out of the 23 scored by KCB. The kicking accuracy of these two could decide who will be champions.

Decision making

Being a final, decisions that will be taken by those on the pitch and bench will be crucial. Poor decision making could lead to one being punished.

Teamwork, Individual brilliance, tactical awareness by the technical bench and discipline will also play a role in the clash.

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