The Kenya Cup, Kenya Rugby Union’s prime 15s club league competition, enters a crucial stage with the last two rounds on 30th March and 6th April 2019 set to determine the 6 play-off spots – and which 2 teams will be relegated to the Championship next season.
First things first – The Kenya Cup 2018/19 comprises 12 teams divided into 2 pools of six. Each team plays 16 matches in the league stage, twice against 5 in their pool and once against the 6 in the alternate pool. The top 6 ranked teams in the league at the end of round 16 will enter a knock-out stage. The top 2 ranked teams receive a bye ahead of hosting semi-final matches against the winners from a knock-out round between the teams ranked 3-6. The semi-final winners meet in the final, to determine the Kenya Cup 2018/19 Champions.
The top 2 play-off spots are already secured with 2017/18 Runners-up and Champions Kabras Sugar & KCB respectively occupying 1st & 2nd spot courtesy of a better points difference by Kabras as both have 64 league points and cannot be overhauled by the chasing pack. With the team finishing first assured of a home final, provided it wins its semi-final match, the outstanding fixtures are guaranteed to produce the best from either team. Kabras host relegation haunted Strathmore Leos on Saturday in Kakamega and travel a week later to Nairobi to face Resolution Impala Saracens. KCB will similarly host Kenya Harlequins at Ruaraka and complete their league fixtures across the city against Menengai Cream HomeBoyz.
Kenya Harlequins, currently 3rd with 49 league points is already guaranteed a play-off spot and needs 3 more to secure the position. The remaining spots will be fought for by any of the next 4 teams – Nondescripts (4th-41 points), Impala (5th-40), Stanbic Mwamba (6th-39) and Top Fry Nakuru (7th-37). Even if Menengai Oilers (8th-27) and Homeboyz (9th-27) win their next two matches, they will still be out of the playoffs since the maximum points they will have is 37 given the fact that the current sixth team has 39 points.
Two of the 3 bottom clubs, all University-based sides, Blak-Blad (10th-16 points), Strathmore (11th-14) and Mean Machine (12th-11) will be relegated. The away match to Impala on Saturday is a must-win for Mean Machine if they are to remain in contention in the final round of matches that will determine who avoids the drop. As fate would have it, the last round is set for a mouth-watering dogfight between hosts Strathmore and Blak Blad in a match that may well decide which of the 2 stays in the Kenya Cup.
Photo Courtesy of Tony Munge,