The first ever Currie Cup match on Kenyan soil is set to go down on Saturday afternoon, at 1600hrs at the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi when Kenya Simbas will host Leopards.
The day will kick off with a curtain raiser pitting Nairobi U20 select and Western Region select squads at 1 pm before the main event.
Kenya Simbas run
Early this year, Kenya Simbas received an invitation to participate in the Currie Cup First Division. The tournament has been ongoing since the beginning of April with Kenya having played six games. Kenya will host the last two matches. It is worth noting that this historic clash will be the first to be played outside South Africa.
Kenya Simbas have had a not-so-good performance in the previous Currie Cup matches, with a win and six losses. This performance has seen Paul Odera’s side retain the ninth position on the Currie Cup standings.
The Simbas lost their opener to the Falcons, 51-44 on 9 April. Their losing run continued on 23 April against Zimbabwe Goshawks where they narrowly lost 22-21. Griffons would later hand winless Simbas a 66-33 defeat on 30 April.
Last month, Kenya Simbas bounced back to winning ways, defeating Border Bulldogs 35-12 at Fort Harare Stadium. Border Bulldogs are placed last on the log. They have not tasted a win since.
Fifth-placed Boland Cavaliers handed Paul Odera a 45-33 defeat on 21 May. The Simbas then went down 24-7 to South Western District on Saturday in what was their final fixture in SA.
Kenya Simbas will be keen to use the home advantage to hold off South African Leopards who are nine points above them. A win in the final two matches will be a morale booster for the Simbas before they head to France for the qualifiers.
This South African competition is crucial in preparing Kenya for the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup scheduled for 1st to 10th July in France. The competition will double up as the 2023 World Cup qualifiers.
Currie Cup First Division defending Champions Leopards have won three out of the seven matches played and will be hoping to bag another win at the RFUEA Grounds.
They began their campaign with a 19-9 win over Border Bulldogs before suffering back to back defeats to SWD Eagles (17-15), 42-33 to Boland Kavaliers before returning to winning ways with a 25-15 win over Falcons. Two more defeats to Eastern Province Elephants and Griffons followed.
They bounced back to winning ways with a 35-0 win over Zimbabwe last weekend. The Leopards will be keen to close the gap between them and the top four when they play at RFUEA Grounds.
Rugby fans will be looking forward to be entertained to huge bursts of speed by Menengai Oilers’ Beldad Ogeta and Kabras RFC’s’ Derrick Ashihundu. Darwin Mukidza will be eager to capitalizing on his kicking accuracy to lead the side to victory.
Paul Odera also included the services of an apt, quick-witted Samuel Asati who will be key at half-back. Teddy Akala also makes his first Kenya Simbas start this weekend after an impressive performance during the weekend.
Experienced Captain Dan Sikuta, Davis Chenge, and centre Vincent Onyala are the other players Paul Odera will be looking at to deliver . View full squad
Speaking to the Scrummage, Chenge is optimistic that the Simbas will roar, “We’re looking to build on the work done by the team that has been in South Africa.”
From the eyes of the KCB Rugby utility, this match will be a tester to a number of new players,
“It will test how a number of new players(including myself) who’ve joined the team this week, blend in and execute the systems as we build towards the qualifiers next month.”
Fans will pay kshs. 1000 for the terraces while tickets for the VIP area will be Kshs 2000. Fans can purchase tickets via the link https://t.co/JKnoba3D65.