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Kenya Harlequin eye Homeboyz scalp in Kenya cup tie

Leaders Kenya Harlequin, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Homeboyz have rung changes ahead of the third round of the Kenya Cup rugby league that promises nerve-wracking moments on Saturday.

Revenge will be on Quins’ cards when they host Homeboyz, who are also unbeaten at the RFUEA grounds. Last season, Homeboyz edged out Quins 27-25 in the Kenya Cup league.

Quins have made three changes to the side that beat Strathmore Leos 39-22 last weekend.

Head coach Joel Ng’ang’a has rested injured prop James Kang’ethe and back-row Kevin Ang’ote with John Kiilu and Edward Shikanda replacing them respectively. Shikanda is making his debut in the first side.

Fullback Kevin Keegan, who started at the bench in the previous two matches gets to start in place of Eric Shikuku, who moves to the bench.

“Shikanda has grown through the ranks and I think it’s the right time for him to show his mettle at the first team,” said Ng’ang’a.

“We intend to match Homeboyz’s physicality but still run the ball with our strong backs.”

Homeboyz coach Paul Murunga has only effected two changes to his side that beat Nondescripts 17-5 last weekend.

Murunga has brought in Cyprian Kuto at centre in place of Collins Musera while scrum-half Michael Wanjala drops to the bench with Kevin Masai having the onus to start.

“We are working on another win against Quins,” said Murunga. “They beat us 28-12 in a friendly but we learnt our lessons. We should expect some quality open play.”

Quins and Homeboyz have both won their first two matches. Eight times holders Quins, who haven’t won since 2012, crushed Blak Blad 47-8 and Strathmore Leos 39-22 to enjoy their early lead albeit on a better aggregate.

Quins, KCB and Impala tie on 10 points each and are followed by Nakuru and Homeboyz on nine points each and Kabras on eight points.

Homeboyz will be buoyed by their 49-17 and 17-5 victories against the Leos and Nondies.

Four times winners KCB, who have made several changes will also be hoping to turn the tables on Nakuru when they face off at KCB Ruaraka Sports.

Nakuru, the 2013 and 2014 Kenya Cup champions, upstaged KCB 21 – 13 in Nakuru last year.

Full-back Darwin Mukidza, eigthman Andrew Amonde, hooker Peter Karia get to start, replacing Elphas Otieno, Rocky Aguko and George Asin, who move to the bench at KCB side.

Scrum-half Michael Wanjala starts in place of Marlin Mukolwe who also drops to the bench.

“It’s purely tactical considering that we want to also win at home, having lost to Nakuru away last season,” said KCB team manager Ronnie Kangeta.

Impala, who have won the diadem 10 times but are chasing their first title since 2009, host a limping Strathmore Leos at the Impala Sports Club grounds.

There will be a double-header at the Kakamega showgrounds where Mwamba and Western Bulls will be looking for their first wins of the season against defending champions Kabras Sugar and Mean Machine from the University of Nairobi respectively.

Nondescripts and Blak Blad from Kenyatta University goes for each other’s jugular as they target their first win of the season.

FIXTURES

Western Bulls v Mean Machine (2pm) Kakamega Showground

KCB v Nakuru (4pm), KCB Sports Club

Kenya Harlequin v Homeboyz (4pm), RFUEA

Blak Blad v Nondescripts (4pm), Kenyatta University

Impala Saracens v Strathmore Leos (4pm), Impala

Kabras Sugar vMwamba (4.15pm), Kakamega Showground

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