Category: Analysis

THE RUCK: KAKAMEGA HIGH, MMUST RUGBY, KABRAS RFC & WESTERN BULLS, THE TOWN THAT IS KAKAMEGA.

Kakamega Town (037) slowly continues to shape the game of rugby in our beloved country Kenya. The town had two clubs playing in Kenya’s premier rugby league the “Kenya Cup” (Western Bulls & Kabras RFC) and one featuring in the championship league (Masinde Muliro University of Science & Tech). The town is also home to the famous Kakamega High school that has a rich history in the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association Games and East Africa Schools competitions.  

KAKAMEGA HIGH SCHOOL

2019 15’s Champs, three times back to back champions from 2011-2013 KSSSA games. Current Kakamega county champions and host of the 2020 East Africa Schools games, the Barbarians continue to position Kakamega county as a strong sports powerhouse.

MMUST RUGBY

Finished fifth position during the KRU Championship 2018/2019 campaign, currently sitting second in the KRU Championship log seven points away from the Kenya Cup 2018/2019 relegated side Strathmore University Leos. The University situated just a few minutes from the city centre has strategically positioned itself on the path to promotion. If this happened, MMUST will replace Western Bulls who face relegation heading into 2020/2021 season.  

WESTERN BULLS

Western Bulls first featured in Kenya’s top tier league during the 2011/2012 campaign where they played most of their games at the Kakamega High School grounds before relocating just a few years ago. The Kakamega based team last featured in the top tier league during the 2016/2017 campaign where they finished 11th in the log with 14 points sending themselves back to the second-tier division alongside University of Nairobi Mean Machine. The club had a great run last year in the KRU Championship League finishing second with a (12-1-4 W-D-L) record. The side managed to book a slot for the 2019/2020 Kenya Cup by securing a final against Lakeside neighbours Kisumu RFC. The team will face relegation heading into 2020/2021 season.

KABRAS RFC Five-time finalists in the past five seasons, 2016 Kenya Cup champions after beating Impala RFC. The Kakamega based outfit has failed to topple KCB RFC in their last three meetings. The team boasts of having groomed and housed unique talents such as Phillip Wokorach (Ugandan International/Bourges XV), Max Adaka, Fijian Timoci Senaite, and Ntabeni Dukisa. Pride of the western town, the club continues to cement its power and grip in the Kenyan rugby scene.

The Ruck: KRU, Ernst&Young, Budget management 2020

The Union last year saw major sponsorship and partnership deals signed showing the ever-increasing development of the sport in the nation. One notably signed partnership was with one of the big five audit and advisory firm called Ernst&Young.

The new year brings new competitions lined up such as the HSBC World 7s Kenya Cup, Enterprise Cup, Olympics, Domestic 7’s Circuit, and the newly revamped 15s competition that will take place in the second quarter of the year where we play two home and away games. (All competitions currently suspended due to the Coronavirus)  

EY-SPORTS RELATIONSHIP

Ernst&Young has seen tremendous investment in sports over the years and its entry into the Kenyan market is further showing their grip and interests in furthering sports development across nations.

EY is strategically partnering with sports on the background of utilizing the existing data and analytics to help these teams, leagues, and unions make informed data-centric decisions.

EY-USA RUGBY

If you are a follower of 7’s rugby, you cannot miss the EY logo right in front of the USAMNT&USAWMNT jerseys. EY and USA Rugby kicked off a 10-year deal that would focus heavily on expanding the sport in the region. The US sports market is one of the most diverse and interactive markets across the globe with fans watching and following at least 2 disciplines. The NBA and NFL have proved to the world that the USA fanbase comes through for their local sports. EY plans to tap into this sports market makes perfect sense, a market that is so diverse and technologically connected through various social media platforms, a market with developed training facilities and a young generation.

EY partnership comes at a time where data is being used for both on and off-field decisions. The partnership seeks to revamp USA Rugby digital strategy to held increase an audience, and further increase the business of the board.

EY-BRITISH&IRISH LIONS RUGBY

Ernst&Young in 2017 partnered with the B&I Lions during their tour of New Zealand playing 10 matches. The partnership focused heavily on in-game data approach to help lure fans and supporters to rally behind the B&I Lions during the one-month NZ Tour.

EY-KENYA RUGBY UNION

The partnership will see EY help the union to maintain and keep all the financials in check, Budget management, and report writing. EY will deliver on KRU Program Delivery Unit as reported and this includes reports management, project plans formulation, supervision of procurement procedures, and designing financing models.

We all hope this brings positive changes in the union and all its activities especially this coming year. A year filled with defining competitions and cementing Kenya Rugby’s new decade plans. We have our eyes set for the year in Kenyan Rugby.

The Ruck: Mileage covered during the Kenya Cup season 2019/2020

The Kenya Cup season moves into its seventh week this coming weekend with all teams seeking wins to boost their position as they fight for playoff spots continues. Kabras RFC from Kakamega currently tops the table 29 points winning all its six games.

The Kenyan rugby top tier league moved into this new season welcoming two new teams from the Western Circuit of the country showing the immense growth of Kenyan rugby. Both Kisumu RFC and Western Bulls met in the KRU Championship final this year, both sealing their places in the 2019/2020 Kenya Cup.

The promotion meant five teams in the twelve-team league (42%) will be based outside Nairobi, it has been the norm a few years ago where over 70% of the participating teams were based in the capital. Displacing both Nairobi based teams Mean Machine and Strathmore Leos, Kisumu RFC and Western Bulls only plan this season is to sustain themselves in the league as their front office management seeks to make things better with state of the team.

MORE TRAVELLING

Sports has shown to the world that with a great structure and great Sports markets, touring and travelling will be of benefits in the industry. Take an example of the HSBC 7s series that takes place annually and is staged in 12 Cities (Including Women series). National teams are not only given a chance to play for points and showcase their talents but given a treat of travelling the world.

The Kenya Cup too will give both players and fans the treat to visit and explore different upcoming towns in Kenya. The league currently has Two teams based in Kakamega, One in Kisumu, and two in Nakuru. This means all the 7 teams based in Nairobi will travel week in week out.

MILEAGE COVERED

(Distance showcased is from county-county, to and from only excluding distance within the county for teams in the same region)

Kabras RFC & Western Bulls will both have the highest mileage covered this coming season. Based in Kakamega, they will cover a distance estimate of 6103.86KM (Distance estimate county-county). Kisumu RFC based in Kisumu town will cover a total estimated distance of 5819.12KM throughout the league this season. The Nakuru based clubs (Menengai Oilers and Nakuru RFC) will cover a total distance of 3519.06KM each this season. Nairobi based clubs (inclusive Blakblad) will cover a distance of 2847KM each this season.

RUGBY MARKETS

The Kenyan rugby space in Kenya continues to grow with expansions of teams playing in various sanctioned leagues. The league structure itself has enabled teams from across the country to have a chance to participate and fight their way through to earn a spot in the top tier league of the country.

The six regional leagues (Nationwide), the structure is slowly opening up various rugby markets in Kenya notably Western, Central and ever-competitive Nairobi region. Looking at these regional leagues, one will find the expansion of rugby in various counties and small towns located in Kenya. Touching newer markets will increase both fan base but most importantly a new crop of players to the league with different physical and mental strength.

Nairobi currently tops the market with 7 clubs in the Kenya Cup division, four in the championship tier and twenty clubs playing in the Nationwide divisions (Universities and Nairobi region). Kakamega is putting up a mighty push to secure more slots in the top tier division already having two (Kabras RFC and Western Bulls). Masinde Muliro University currently seats second in the championship and is in position for play-off promotion, if they continue with this trend, Kakamega will field three teams in Kenya Cup in the 2020/2021 season.

IS THE FUTURE FOR KENYAN RUGBY BRIGHT?

The answer is very bright. With great front office management, the future of rugby in our country is very bright, some clubs are struggling with player payments, player contracts, and low revenues throughout the season. This will be a thing of the past once-radical business managers pick up existing teams or expand new teams across the regional leagues in Kenya.

A future will come when clubs will not only compete for on-pitch but at the front office management. This future will displace mismanaged clubs and league structures that are infested with corrupt and none-performing managers. That future is very near, that future has already begun in smaller teams in lower-tier leagues that many people are not placing focus on currently.

Catch episode 2 of The Ruck next week and keep it 254Rugby. Thank You

UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI MEAN MACHINE MEETS KENYATTA UNIVERSITY BLAKBLAD IN THE VARSITY LEAGUE FINAL

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI MEAN MACHINE MEETS KENYATTA UNIVERSITY BLAKBLAD IN THE VARSITY LEAGUE FINAL”][vc_single_image image=”3577″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_column_text]The Varsity League comes to a close this weekend at the University of Nairobi Grounds in a final that will see the home team take on a clinical Kenyatta University BlakBlad. The two teams have shown dominance in this league winning all their pool matches with convincing scores but also showcasing great rugby play during their matches.

VARSITY LEAGUE POOL MATCHES

Both teams managed to finish top seed in both their pools (3-0-0 record) registering good wins. University of Nairobi Mean Machine finished first in their pool scoring 84 points (11 tries, 7 conversions and 5 penalties) where as BlakBlad finished top in Pool A with 79 points (10 tries, 4 conversions, 6 penalties and 1 Drop Goal).

Lionel Ajelity of Kenyatta University helped lead BlakBlad with 29 points in the pool matches coming off his boot. He has also orchestrated great moves that have led to tries for the Kenyatta University BlakBlad.

Trevor Asina of University of Nairobi Mean Machine put up 26 points in the pool matches grounding 2 tries, kicking 2 conversions and 4 penalties.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]SEMI-FINAL MATCH AT EGERTON UNIVERSITY, NJORO

University of Nairobi Mean Machine went up against the home side Egerton University in a tightly contested match that went all the way to penalty kick outs. The match ended 11-11 at regular time, going into extra time both teams exhibited great defense avoiding either team to score. After 20 minutes of extra time, the referee took the match to penalty kicks where UON Mean Machine was victorious after a Trevor Asina kick that sealed off the match.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3785″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]The second match saw Kenyatta University BlakBlad take on Catholic University of Eastern Africa Monks. The match was one sided due to KU strength at the line adding more phases in their play and hard runs to break the CUEA Monks defense. KU boys scored 6 tries with Lionel Ajelity adding 3 conversions and 2 penalties

The final will be staged this coming weekend at the University of Nairobi Rugby Grounds and we call upon you to come enjoy great rugby filled with entertainment from Homeboyz Entertainment and delicious food from Flames Flavors.

UON Mean Machine v. K.U BlakBlad[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

VARSITY LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL TO HEADLINE AS ONE OF THE SPORTS EVENTS THIS MASHUJAA DAY CELEBRATIONS

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”VARSITY LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL TO HEADLINE AS ONE OF THE SPORTS EVENTS THIS MASHUJAA DAY CELEBRATIONS”][vc_single_image image=”3756″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes”][vc_column_text]Njoro Town, Nakuru will experience a great sporting event this Mashujaa Day as the Varsity League travels to the rift valley region for the semi final clashes. University of Nairobi Mean Machine will face home side Egerton Wasps while Kenyatta University BlakBlad will go head to head with Catholic University of Eastern Africa Monks.

KENYATTA UNIVERSITY v. CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN AFRICA

The Thika Road boys travel to Njoro Town, Nakuru with hopes of dominating the CUEA Monks mercilessly after their excellent form against the Egerton Wasps. Kenyatta University BlakBlad finished Pool A at first position with a 3-0 ratio winning all its games in the Pool. Kenyatta University has scored 10 Tries, 4 Conversions, 6 penalty goals, and 1 drop goal. They sit second in the Varsity League point’s tracker table with 79 points after UON Mean Machine. KU will face CUEA Monks who have scored 12 tries, 4 conversions, 3 penalty goals and have a total of 77 points.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3757″ img_size=”full”][vc_single_image image=”3766″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]UON MEAN MACHINE v. EGERTON UNIVERSITY WASPS

The Machines looked a watered-down team on paper without some of their stars who were playing Strathmore University at the Impala Floodlit Varsity division championship but showed real classy rugby against the Monks.

The Machines finished top seed in Pool B with 11 tries, 7 conversions, and 5 penalty goals totaling 84 points. The play the hosts who finished Pool A second with only 3 tries, 1 conversion, 2 penalty goals, and 1 drop goal totaling 26 points.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3763″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes”][vc_single_image image=”3764″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

University sides come back for Week Two with more clinical and intense plays

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”University sides come back for Week Two with more clinical and intense plays”][vc_column_text]The Catholic University rugby grounds came to a bee hive of events this weekend as it hosted the second round of the inaugural Varsity League. The host side Catholic University Monks took to the side in the early morning encounter at 10.00am against University of Eldoret Trojans.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image img_size=”medium”][vc_column_text]CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY MONKS v. UoE TROJANS

The hosts continued their winning ways with a comfortable win against the Trojans with a Full Time score of 23 – 6. UoE Trojans Elvis Namulanda took the Trojans ahead in the first minutes with a careful penalty goal to take the Trojans 3 – 0. Jeffrey Okwach opened the score books for CUEA Monks with a run over try after breaking the Trojans defense to take up the score 5 – 3. An infringement by CUEA Monks gave the Trojans an opportunity to extend their score to 6 – 5. Immediately after, the Monks through Jeffrey Okwach took the score to 8 – 6 at just before the half time whistle through a well calculated try. The match ended 23 – 6 to CUEA after Jeffrey Okwach landed another try and two penalties by Johnstone Olindi and a penalty try.

EGERTON UNIVERSITIES WASPS v. JKUAT COUGARS

Just as their week one game against TUM Marines, Egerton were again on the fight for their lives in Pool A with a narrow win against the Cougars just as they did against the Marines. Egerton University saw off the Thika Road side 8 – 5 in a thrilling match of the day.

Brian Ndege took the Wasps ahead with a nicely kicked penalty goal. The Cougars replied with a Dennis Ambitho try. Both teams testing their defenses, Egerton University got a lucky break to score just before halftime through a Steve Wamae Try to send the scores to 8 – 5.  Egerton Wasps came back into second half with a mind to defend and their slim lead against the Cougars. They managed to hold the lead to the 80th minute and win the fight to secure 2 wins from two.

KENYATTA UNIVERSITY BLAKBLAD v. TUM MARINES

Thika Road side Kenyatta University came into week two of the competitions with a well prepared game play. They white washed the Marines from Mombasa 29 – 0 in a match filled with exciting phases, kicking and line breaks. Tries from Kelvin Gathu, Ryan Ario, Humphrey Litali, and Stormy Odhiambo and beautiful kicking by the flying Lionel Ajelity secured Kenyatta University top seed in Pool A.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image][vc_column_text]UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI MEAN MACHINE v. T.U.K MUSTANGS

The Machines were hungry to land points on board with a quick try by Aaron Otieno and additions by Festus Shiasi that sent the Mean Machines 7 – 0. A hard game it was for Machines to easily score due to the Mustangs defense that was exceptional with hard pressing line defense and great ball possession. Errors came to haunt the Mustangs and the Machines capitalized on every bit of them. Tries from Marvin Karungi, Alfred Orege and a double try by Aaron Otieno saw Mean Machines book their second win from in Pool B.

Varsity League heads to Kenyatta University on the 13th October for the final Pool Matches.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Inside the Varsity League kicking stats after week one

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Inside the Varsity League kicking stats after week one “][vc_single_image][vc_column_text]The Varsity League started off with a high campaign this past weekend at the University of Nairobi. Various University sides came well prepared with great ball handling, line breaks and plays. The use of the pitch was also noticeable showing great depth in passing and ball movement. The Varsity League should be one of the competitions to produce the next generational stars for the Kenya National teams both sevens and 15s and we believe this initiative by Sports Options Limited will achieve so in the next 5 years.

We took an in depth look into the kicking levels at the Varsity Leagues’ first event held at the University of Nairobi on 29th and found a lot of numbers that need to be crunched, analyzed and used by rugby teams.

CONVERSIONS

The Varsity League week one competition saw a total of 25 tries scored by the end of the last game between Kenyatta University BlakBlad and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Cougars. Out the 25 tries scored on that day, only 9 conversions were successful.

The success of these conversions constitutes to only 36% (9/25). Despite position, distance and angles of the conversions to be taken, we see a low success rate percentage. In a hypothetical scenario or an ideal game, the 16 conversions missed by teams that scored during day one of the tournaments equates to a total of 32 points missed. The Technical University of Kenya Mustangs was the only team that had 100% success taking conversions with 2 out 2 kicks.

CONVERSION RATE PER UNIVERSITY

  1. Catholic University of East Africa Monks (25% success rate)
  2. Technical University of Kenya Mustangs (100%)
  3. Egerton University Wasps (50% success rate)
  4. Technical University of Mombasa Marines (0% success rate)
  5. University of Nairobi Mean Machines (50% success rate)
  6. University of Eldoret Trojans (50% success rate)
  7. Kenyatta University BlakBlad (33.3% success rate)
  8. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agric and Tech Cougars (0 % success rate)

PENALTY GOALS

Week one of the league saw a total of 114 penalties awarded by the referees. Out of the 114 penalties, only 16 were goal attempts (14.03%). Despite the distance, and angle of the penalties many Universities opted for line-outs and scrum downs with many cases, quick starts by the teams. Out the 16 goal attempts, 10 were successful (62.5% success rate).[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image][vc_column_text]Remke Jan of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology helped his side by slotting in 9 points through penalties they were awarded and this constituted to 64% of their final score that ended 23-14 to BlakBlad. The Marines game against Egerton Wasps was the closest game of the day ending 12-11. The Marines scored 2 penalty goals and one try to get 11 points; they were awarded 9 penalties and chose to shoot 3 of them for goal, 3 were kicked for touch, 2 were scrum down option and one was quickly started.

In tight games like rugby where competition is becoming tighter in terms of financial strength of teams so access to players and conditioning is becoming high and higher, newer able players in many teams, kicking skill should be highly recommended and sought for.

The Varsity League is set to become the most competitive physical sport in Kenya because Universities will soon open up to the growing interest of sports as we are seeing, spectatorship will be high because of increase in student admission in all Universities, and development of sports facilities (stadia and complexes) in these prestigious institutions like in Kenyatta University which will provide a great experience to students and with this, interests for the game will continuously grow tremendously.

Week two of the Varsity League heads down to Catholic University of Eastern Africa this Saturday and the following below are slated fixtures.

POOL A

Catholic University Monks v. UoE Trojans           10.00 am

UoN Mean Machine v. TUK Mustangs                    4.00 pm

POOL B

Egerton University Wasps v. JKUAT Cougars       12.00 pm

K.U BlakBlad v. TUM Marines                                2.00pm[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Eight Universities compete for glory in the inaugural Varsity League

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Eight Universities compete for glory in the inaugural Varsity League ” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:24|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css_animation=”fadeIn”][vc_column_text]All roads lead to the University of Nairobi rugby grounds this Saturday as eight selected University teams take part in the inaugural University rugby league. The inaugural league kick starts at UoN with four matches lined up for the day commencing at 10am.

Investment into University sports is a step towards tapping into the great diversity of various students that attend these institutions for study. Universities have students from across the nation and they bear different biological, physiological and physical anatomy that can be channeled and nurtured for various sports disciplines. A well structured rugby tournament like the Varsity League will help increase interests, participation and also huge following for the sport.

UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

University of Nairobi Mean Machine looks to better their game play and strategy as they prepare their way back to the Kenya Cup after achieving promotion status after finishing 2nd in the second tier of the Kenya Rugby structure (KRU Championship). Mean Machine finished 2nd losing two games and winning 14. They are ranked second in this league after Kenyatta University BlakBlad who secured their status in the first tier Kenya Cup.

KENYATTA UNIVERSITY

The Bladbin occupants come into this league as favorites to win the Varsity league being the only University in this competition enjoying Kenya Cup status. They finished 10th in the just concluded Kenya Cup winning only 3 games losing 8. Pooled with Egerton University, JKUAT Cougars and T.U.M Marines. BlackBlad seeks to win the Varsity League using their experience in Kenyas top flight league Kenya Cup.

UNIVERSITY OF ELDORET

The Trojans pooled with University of Nairobi will see the two sides meet again after their clash in the KRU Championship. The UoE Trojans finished 10th in the KRU Championship league with 5 wins, 1 draw 10 losses. They managed to retain championship status after a hard fight against Swara where they won 26-16.

JOMO KENYATTA UNIVERSITY OF AGRIC & TECHNOLOGY

The JKUAT Cougars will come into this competition having finished last in the KRU Championship league. The Thika Road side finished last in the championship league managing only 2 wins and losing 14 matches. The boys were sent back to the Central Nationwide league where they will play in the upcoming g2018/2019.

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF EAST AFRICA

The Monks as they are known will be contesting this league in pool B against Mean Machine, Trojans, and Mustangs. Finishing 5th in the KRU Championship with 9 wins and 7 losses, CUEA comes into this competition prepared to play their usual foes in the championship league promising a great match against Mean Machine. In their last meeting, the Monks lost 32-0 to the Machines and seek to revenge this loss during week three of the Varsity League.

EGERTON UNIVERSITY

A great 2018 for the Wasps as they lifted the Stanbic 7s division two championship weeks ago at RFUEA grounds Christie Sevens. The Nakuru students also landed a sponsorship package from well known Menengai Oil.  They finished 7th in the KRU Championship with 6 wins and 10 losses.

TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF MOMBASA

The Marines finished last season top seeded in the Coastal Nationwide League where they qualified for Nations quarterfinal where they lost to Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and failed to advance to the semis. Being the only team in nationwide tier prior to the Varsity League, TUM Marines will have a hard task to fight through in pool A.

TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF KENYA

Technical university of Kenya had a good run in the KRU Nationwide Nairobi Universities region finishing at first place. The Mustangs finished with 7 wins and 1 loss showing dominance in that league. They were beaten by Comras in the quarterfinal of the nationwide Nairobi playoffs. The Mustangs look to extend this run to the Varsity League this coming weekend at the University of Nairobi grounds where they face off against CUEA Catholic Monks in an early morning encounter.

 

The Varsity League invites you all to University of Nairobi rugby grounds this weekend 29th September to support University sports.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]