Oilers out to crown season with Championship title
The Kenyan Rugby Union (KRU) Championship honours will be on the line as Oilers RFC and Mean Machine clash in Saturday’s play-off final at the ASK Showground in Nakuru.
Both teams have already secured top-flight promotion places following dominant wins over Kisumu and Western Bulls in the semis.
Oilers, who have enjoyed a standout year, defeated Kisumu 32-3 while Mean Machine knocked out Western Bulls 18-0 to mark a quick return to the Kenya Cup after a year in the cold.
Oilers captain Harold Anduvate warned there will be no let up from the team despite having guaranteed their Kenya Cup place.
“For some it is about playing for the team in front of big crowds, for others testing yourself against the best or reward for a long season but there is no denying the excitement grand finals bring for all,” Anduvate told Citizen Digital.
The forward paid tribute to his coach Gibson Weru and hailed his teammates for their hard work and dedication through the current campaign.
“Our goal from the beginning was to qualify for the Kenya Cup and we could not have done this without our coach (Weru) who has dedicated everything to this team and this is our prize for his dedication. Now is to maintain it against the big boys in the Kenya Cup,” Anduvate added.
Oilers have lost just one of their 23 Championship matches this season Anduvate says they cannot accept another loss.
“Consistency and paying close attention on our defence and style of play as well will be key for us on Saturday,” he said.
Oilers topped the 12-team log with 63 points with Machine coming second on 54 points.
Former Kenya Cup side Western Bulls, the only side to win against Oilers, finishing third on 45 points as Kisumu and USIU wrapped up the third and fourth places with 35 and 33 points respectively.
“What we were able to deliver this season was a potent mix of good attack and quality defence.
“We have looked to improve a few things in our defence and from an attacking perspective we want to try and be as accurate as we can,” Anduvate underscored.
On the same breath, the KRU has warned teams from fielding Ineligible players during this time of Championship and nationwide qualification race heats up.
KRU further adds that it will not be holding disciplinary hearings to determine player eligibility matters since a forewarning has already been issued and teams should adhere to this.
This comes a time the Championship and Nationwide leagues have been rocked by fielding ineligible players to bolster their squads ahead of the quarterfinals stage.
Meanwhile, The Nationwide League enters its national quarter-final stage this weekend with the four matches being played in Nairobi, Kakamega, Eldoret and Juja respectively.
Nairobi-based side Swara RFC will host Maseno from 12pm at Impala Club with Brian Kipkoech being the match day referee.
In Kakamega, Masinde Muliro University of Technology(MMUST) will host TUM Marines from Mombasa at 12 as Beryl Akinyi set to officate the game.
Northern Suburbs Cubs will travel to Eldoret for their 3pm kick off at University of Eldoret,Noreen Liyosi will oversee the clash.
The last quarterfinal will be at JKUAT grounds where Kiambu RFC host Kitale RFC from 3pm with Godwin Karuga handed the mantle to oversee the game.
In semis, the winner of Swara-Maseno will play the winner of Kiambu-Kitale while the second semifinal will be between the winner of MMUST-TUM vs Eldoret-Suburbs.
The top two sides will secure promotion to next season’s second tier KRU Championship while losing semifinalists will head to promotion playoff against Championship teams that finished 9th and 10th.
The semifinals will be played on Saturday 12 May with the final taking place a week later at the RFUEA grounds.
KRU Championship Finals:
Oilers RFC vs Mean Machine
Nationwide National Quarterfinals:
Swara vs Maseno-12:00 pm Impala Club
MMUST vs TUM-12pm MMUST Kakamega
Eldoret vs Northern Surburbs-3pm University of Eldoret
Kiambu vs Kitale-3pm JKUAT
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