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Teams to battle out this weekend’s Kenya Cup

Winless Mean machine will be hosting  HomeBoyz in this Saturday’s Kenya Cup rugby league. The university of Nairobi team has failed to maintain the momentum in the 2016/2017 season.

Since then, they failed to create good momentum from the result and are winless in 10 outings.

As the regular season nears its completion, relegation is becoming a possibility for Mean Machine. They could be relegated by their positioning on the log but the club is not ready to give up yet.

“Mean Machine has not given up,” head coach John Mbai told Sports News Arena ahead of their weekend’s crossover match against Homeboyz RFC.

“You never know what will happen until the last match. The point difference between us and the eighth-placed team is not very big and we cannot throw in the towel at this point.”

With only a point collected so far, Mean Machine is eight points below Western Bulls, nine below Blak Blad and 10 below Strathmore University. It is the gap that Mbai holds Mean Machine can cover if they play well in their remaining six matches.

They face Blak Blad, Strathmore and Nondescripts RUFC in some of the remaining fixtures.

“The good thing for now is to remain optimistic and do what we need to do good. We have a few more matches to play including with some of the teams we are struggling with and our focus is to keep on fighting to the end,” he added stating inconsistency has been their weakest point.

“We have had some inconsistent performances; one week we are competitive and the other one we are not as competitive. We still have the problem of player depth since the nature of this league is to have a big pool of quality players who can compete every week.”

That could have been the main separation between Mean Machine and other teams. Apart from the slim loss to Kabras, Mean Machine led Mwamba RFC 8-7 at halftime but lost it in the second half.

They have always put in the effort in all the matches and Mbai acknowledges they have not lost any match easily. Maybe, that is what they need more to survive relegation.

“The team has been resilient with close calls in some of our losses. I know it will pay dividends one day.”

Fellow strugglers Strathmore, Western Bulls and Blak Blad equally have very tough matches over the weekend. Strathmore will play joint leaders and the only unbeaten side Kenya Commercial Bank RFC.

The match was initially set to be played in Madaraka but has been moved to ASK Jamhuri Showground to complete a doubleheader. KCB’s Kenny Andola could start against his former side.

Blak Blad will play at home to Kabras while Western Bulls host to Impala RFC.

At the Nairobi Railway Club, Mwamba host Kenya Harlequin FC in a cracker of the weekend. The two teams are separated by 19 points.

Mwamba has to win and boost their playoffs chances while Quins eye a top spot. Mwamba has already lost at home to KCB and Quins.

Can they allow Quins to run away with maximum points this weekend? They will have to dig deep, rise to the occasion and make good use of their chances to emerge winners.

It is difficult to see Mwamba’s good performance without the influence of Humphrey Kayange. If there is a match that his contribution is needed more, it has to be against Quins. His presence is felt at  breakdown and lineouts.

Turning point

The match could be a huge turning point for Kulabu as they chase playoffs qualification. Quins backline is always steady with utility Kevin Keegan who can play at flyhalf and fullback. He is a good kicker and could make a huge difference.

On the opposite end, James Kang’ethe is always dependable and Tony Mutai always stands out at the lineout.

Notably, Nakuru RFC is shaping out as the team that could lock Mwamba out of the playoffs bracket. Both teams have been swapping the sixth and seventh positions in the past successive weeks.

After last week’s matches, Nakuru remained sixth on 30 points while Mwamba dropped to seventh from fifth on 26 points. This weekend, Nakuru will play away to Nondies.

Weekend fixtures

Western Bulls v Impala RFC (Kakamega High School, 4 p.m.), Mwamba RFC v Quins (Railway Club, 4 p.m.), Mean Machine v Homeboyz RFC (UoN, 4 p.m.), Blak Blad v Kabras Sugar (Kenyatta University, 4 p.m.), Strathmore University v KCB (Jamhuri Park, 2 p.m.), Nondescripts v Nakuru RFC (Jamhuri Park, 4 p.m.).

Sports News Arena

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