Kenya Harlequins will this weekend have to be in fine form as they take on a well-greased Menegai Oilers. Last week the quartered shirts took their first loss of the season against a spirited KU Blak Blad side who won the game 9-3 of the tee. Quins gave the hosts an edge off two penalties within kicking distance which in form David Gitau easily converted to make the score 6-3 at half time. Another penalty in the second half gave Blak Blads the game despite the Harlequins enjoying a majority of the possession.
The Oilers eased past the lake-side boys Kisumu RFC 48-7 at the Nakuru Showground to maintain their fine start to the season. They have now won six of their last six matches this season and are just four points ahead of the Kenya Harlequins. Utility back Dennis Abukuse’s sterling performance continues to give the Oilers a competitive edge. His partnership with Beldad Ogeta at the wing has proven a force to be reckoned with and the team chemistry has made for fantastic link up play.
Ogeta is currently ranked third highest points scorer this season with 45 points and is expected to be the key to unlocking the Harlequins defense. Defense will have to be a key part of the Harlequins strategy as they host the Oilers on home turf. Fly half Amon Wamalwa will also have to be at the top of his game if the Quins are to capitalize on their chances to gain a much-needed edge over their opponents.
The scrummage has been solid from both teams this season. But last weekend’s performance has since prompted a couple of changes on the Kenya Harlequin bench as the team prepares for one of their toughest outings this season.
“Last weekend against Blak Blad we didn’t perform so well. We had a couple of mistakes that we’ve managed to fix this week including our breakdowns and set pieces. But we should have a very good outing against the Oilers.” said Head Coach Paul Murunga who has since made a couple changes to the squad. Quins Captain Herman Humwa is set to start the game at 2nd row to tighten the play at the scrum. Evin Asena who’s been a vital part of the team will be back this week after making a quick recovery off a slight knock in the game against Nakuru.
Witty half back Cornelius Mokoro makes this week’s starting IV as Laban Kipsang who also came off the bench last week starts on the flank. Vice-Captain Sheldon Kahi maintains his spot on the inside flank with a slight shuffle at the front row. Adam Mugo and Mohammed Khaider swap places at the hooker position. Tight head prop Ian Njenga is yet to be declared match fit and the team is yet to issue an update on his availability for the match.
“In previous outings Oilers have been the better team. They have had an edge over us in terms of winning games. But we’ve sharpened up and moved a few players around in the team enough to give us the win on Saturday.” said the coach.
The Harlequins who are now fourth with 24 points will have to win the upcoming match with bonus points if they are to move up to third place.