Philip Wokorach in Ten

Quick ten questions with Philip Wokorach- Uganda & Kabras Sugar

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Credits: Ragahouse

This week, The Bench got the opportunity to feature sensational Uganda Rugby player Philip Wokorach who also doubles up as Kabras Sugar half back/full back.

In both brief and, at the same time, lengthy questions we  interact and explore his rugby lifestyle, hits and misses in ten (plus an extra topping question of course). From his heroics at the Elgon cup, the Africa Sevens Championships at Kasarani last year to the fair travels in the HSBC Circuit… Meet the man!

TB: You have been a notable member for the Uganda 7s and 15s alike, when did you get acquitted into the sport?

PW: When I was still in Primary School,I joined the Tag Rugby Programme at my school and later Kyadondo Rugby Club

2016 was a great one for Uganda , both in 15s & 7s, winning the Africa cup 7s participating in Capetown 7s, particularly a great one for you starting from the performance in the Elgon Cup. What moment in that period (inclusive of those I haven’t mentioned) would you fancy as your most memorable?

The Africa Cup Sevens championship win in Kenya, we were not fancied to make any impact due to the new names and lack of experience but the boys put in good shift, played with passion to overcome whatever challenge we came across. And I liked it the most because the team just clicked even with the little time we had to train together, we enjoyed every game we played

You signed for Kenya’s Kabras Sugar switching camp from Heathens how would you compare the level of competitiveness in both the two nations?

Rugby in Kenya is more structured in all aspects including Administration unlike in Uganda So that enables teams to be better prepared in terms of sponsorship, player welfare this makes them more competitive in the league

According to reports, you have been at Kabras twice now, first in 2014 then last year. Why did you go back the first time?

I had to go back and finish my studies so I couldn’t remain with the club for long period

Kabras Sugar are having a rather a hard time lately in the league, unlike they did last season, is it the tough competition among teams? Or is it a change of tact at the club?

Clubs have become more competitive this season I should say, a couple of injuries and missing players may have affected us a little

You are athletic and stealthy, just like the game requires, what is your training regime like?

Always try to make sure I work on my weaknesses but work even harder on my strengths. Fitness and health is #1 that means hitting the gym more often, then practice my kicking after training sessions whenever I get the chance, the rest are worked upon during the team training sessions.

How often do you step to the gym in a week?

Well I used to step there at least 3 times a week when I was back in Uganda but now I probably go there at least once a day here at Kabras

When at the gym what key muscle groups do you majorly work on? And how? E.g Shoulder, Military Press, 6 sets of 15 reps each.

Quadriceps, hamstrings,calves, the back and the trapezius. Usually do the dead lift, squats and lunges but switch it up according the club program, I normally do 3 sets, and reps its till I burn out

In improving their overall physicality whilst keeping a good diet, how often do you take meals and snacks in a day? What are the quantities of say carbs, proteins & vitamins?

I have at least 3 meals a day, snacks every after a workout session which varies on some days.

I take in 96 grams of protein and a moderate amount of carbohydrates since am at my target weight!

Rugby as well as other sports all over has been rocked with doping claims. What is your take on use of performance enhancing drug?

We must all try to keep rugby clean, it’s unfair and unethical that some players use performance enhancing drugs which makes it an unfair playing field for other players especially in a sport like rugby that requires a lot of skill, effort and sacrifice by all players in order to be a the very top.

Lastly, assuming you are a S&C in each of the following teams, pick a player  from each that you deem to be the fittest: Uganda’s Heathens, Kenya’s Kabras Sugar, Uganda 15s & Kenya 15s

Vincent  Mose (heathens), Fidel  Oloo (Kabras). Philip wokorach (Uganda 15s) and Darwin mukidza (Kenya 15s)

 

Side note: In a parallel ‘page’, our edition of the monthly Kenya Cup review still continues, in case you all thought it was a one-off thing, Kenya Cup in February edition is a must read. But for now, I decided to break the monotony and do things the old fashioned way- interview features on the site. In case you haven’t been catching up on previews, reviews on match days and things Kenya 7s, like our Facebook page for the tit-bits.

Kenya cup in January

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Issawrap! To the only month in a year that feels like 45 days clamped together. Things have been thick and thin one way or another in the 2017 opener,but let’s all be glad, chiefly, that the scotching January heat is subsiding. The weather man has obviously been wrong one way or another but the rains are probably earlier than they would have predicted… at least in sides where I come from.

At the rugby end, with the rains we could only be happier about the softer playing turf. With tender soils and pitches, it could translate to a few things, notably; almost zero grass burns, a number of dives at the try box and the obvious ‘Benjamin Marshall’ of the team gets to tesa the stiff guys with cheeky little quick feet and sidesteps! Get a chance and watch his tribute by the way- Benjamin Marshall, some pretty fancy skills to learn…

Moving on,

To the January action, it has been a source of mixed results here and there but good thing the month ended safely unlike the year ending of 2016, gratefulness to the Father up above. Also, my plea to be excused for I have not been up beat with the weekly postings. I can bet you I mentioned, somewhere last year, things will be done differently this year, and change is inevitable… Back to Kenya Cup, as we proceed to the unknowns of the new month I sort it better to share my two cents of what the action has been this past three weekends, the hits and misses of the month; who’s been hot and who’s not we get to know also the chaps that fattened up over the December festivities.

I believe up to that point, we are all at par, correct? Shall we…

Week Eight, where Quins danced to Deejay’s beat & Kabras held on

After the premature but deserved break of the season last year Week Eight (8) of the Kenya Cup was a jump-start to the second and final term of the cup. A test on the festivities indulgences; like I mentioned, a test on who accumulated much ‘relaxation’ than the other. We had seven fixtures as usual but then again I would not review all of them, keeping it strictly highlights.

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The one man lift though, photo credits Ragahouse

Apparently Sportpesa Quins must have had too much sauce on their goat steaks; they started off with a shock 15-10 loss to Menengai Cream Homeboyz.  A first in the season probably because they played a man less much of the second half in that game, but the visitors were a man down in the first half too courtesy of a sin bin, and how thou unlucky if you don’t capitalize on such an opportunity against a much bulkier Paul Murunga outfit… how unlucky. But they still cling at second place as per the last time I checked KenyaCup.co.ke, a relief at least.

Kabras were forced to throw let go the hook, line and sinker to nab the fish at Railways. In a cross-county clash against Mwamba they managed a narrow 37-32 win. Maybe because it did not rain at Railways, they savored a close five point win. In what was the debut of the visitors’ Ugandan international (also sensational) Philip Wokorach,  Kabras had to win, and the man proved worth the bargain. Honestly thinking though, you don’t come as the defending champs and struggle to get a hold of a match against seasoned table-toppers ( apologies, Mwamba). But when you see a line up with Lavin Asego, seasoned Humphrey Kayange and the obvious ‘Chochoo’ train, Injera, eerm.. you can bet Kabras were lucky.

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Airborne, photo credits OSBKE 

Also, did you see the pictures off that game? Hehehe, please do when you get the chance. My mentor was humbly subdued pale!

Week Nine (9), where four things happened…

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The somber moments, Photo credits Shujaa Pride

Mean Machine clearly moved in to the refurbished corner of the relegation floor… cementing their spot at the bottom. Eschuma have been having torrid days we all agree, but never caved in as much, plus they had a fantastic opener against Kabras- if you recall. For a moment after week one I was for the thought the University is rising. They lost 70-0 to an unbeaten KCB side, that we cannot have much to talk about; it was the bankers they were facing after all…

 

Kabras rugby, who until this fateful day was unbeaten in seven weekends, got a sit down from their bitter rivals, Top Fry Nakuru led by chief orchestrator, Ominde Geoffery. Booting in four penalties in the second half to overturn a 14-3 lead by the hosts, Ominde ensured a 15-14 win for Nakuru. Over at Jamhuri, Homeboyz rugby was busy with the ‘beat down’ of Resolution Impala, handing the latter a resounding 41-13 defeat. Whatever the Deejays were up to during the Christmas break, they seemingly started the year with such authority. And who told Impala they could just let go like that, where was the dignity at least, aki hii rugby yetu!

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The G.O.A.T, Photo credits KRU

Now that Blakblad –Strathmore incident guys, the latter is just having ‘withdrawal’ issues. When you heavily rely on a brood of players and they wholesomely leave you are in for a sticks and stones that can actually break your bones. Blad couldn’t face the Leos at a better time than this.

Week Ten (10); Quining the Ngong road derby since…

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Photo credits Mid-Ego

SportPesa Quins confirmed they could lose to any other team but not their immediate neighbors Impala… and the latter again seceding gladly for a second week running. You were keen to follow the first Ngong Road derby banter online, mahn! Impala had my ribs tingling… then we realized that’s all they could win off the derby action, online banter. In the rerun, they rather maintained a silent tone and seemed to focus to the issue at hand, the game, they participated in almost null banter besides the teasing by the Quins twitter guy.

Impala forfeited the online banter ‘game’ and equally lost at the pitch too, new tactics maybe? I would give them a breather, something might be cooking.

KCB completed the month extending their unbeaten run, in fancy action, against the defending champions Kabras, icing the victory with a better ‘Bazokizo’ challenge than Kenya Sevens.

Slightly on the international scene

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The Wellington moment

South Africa’s Blitzbokke are finer than wine so far in the HSBC circuit, which is great for Pan-Africanism. The New Zealand rugby team are seemingly passing hints that the technique to the cup final went away with Sir Tietjens and his oldies club, kina Forbes. Finally Kenya Sevens are gallantly managing to win something, that Wellington 7s Challenge trophy, well done gents…  what about we work on our stagnating tenth position in the standings?

There goes the monthly review of January, I might have missed a few highlights of the month in case you have a hint, two or three feel free to leave it at the comments section. Also, check out our Facebook Page for our regular postings besides site contents .

Clicked, Read, now it’s time you share…

Kenya Cup Round 6

Tumekula, tumeshiba , tumerudi makwetu now we can start shading of the extra kilos we bagged late last year and… ”
That is an unfinished paragraph for what is my first article of 2016, I intended to jot down how ecstatic I am for the fresh new year, the return of the rugby action from the Kenya cup to the six nations cup and a preview of 2015 but all that proved to be futile, I couldn’t go on… something was amiss.

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In memory of Geoffery Githaiga

The sudden untimely departure of one Geoffery Githaiga, immediate former captain of Strathmore Leos, nagged me when the social media platforms blew up with the news. I must admit, I never shared a word let alone the same bench with him unlike a number of you who will read this, but I did seat at the side stands (in tournaments I attended) and watch the ‘short brown’ guy play his role at 9 so well for the Leos.
I would often notice his efficiency, for a small player among the giants in the field you had to, something I would fondly liken to one Kevin Ogao. Githaiga marked his presence at almost every break down, as his role suggested and always taking the tackles as low as possible no matter who came through. On a number of them he would succeed on others he would be ‘served’ but, expertise is when he sprung back up to action… he is gone now, probably pushing ball with the greatest, Lomu and Friends RFC.

wp-1451980316331.jpegChamp, you were loved here on earth but God’s love supersedes all, here is to your legacy! Rest In Peace.
Kenya Cup

The Kenya cup first half hit its crescendo, with four different league leaders in five weekends. A series of upsets and near century scores were recorded, the debutants baptism of fire was prolonged to the final weekend; it isn’t a level playground after all. It’s fair to conclude the level of competition among top clubs is on the rise whilst little is to be said about the debutants (by which I mean, Nationwide).
Deep into the year, I pray that the union looks into the Nationwide league, there is a real problem. That’s where raw talent is harnessed; to improve and even the level of competition in the Kenya Cup, the ‘Big Office’ at Ngong road should try and lay more focus on the same league, introduce corporate and funding, kitting too is a menace down there. Team inapanda Kenya Cup inaoshwa game one hadi ya mwisho, na inashuka. What rugby is that surely…
I’m just a man at the side Bench typing away my thoughts…

Round 6...

That aside, we are heading to the sixth weekend of the Kenya Cup, with Kenya Harlequins starting at the helm of things, after dubbing 57 past Blak Blad, to 12. Strathmore Leos slumped to fourth place after losing to Mwamba RFC, while KCB went up to second place winning 40-15 over unlucky Kabras Sugar. Resolution Impala Saracens are at 3rd on the standings having shocked Nakuru RFC 26-18 at NAC. The big one had to be Western Bulls first win of the season, collected in their final game of the year against Mean Machine, boy, a win is a win!

Resolution Impala Saracens vs. Kenya Sharks. (+12 Impala)

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Impala start the New Year on a good foot landing a duel against an unlucky Kenya Sharks, who have collected no win since their debut. Going into the New Year maybe the tide will change and we might be showcased with a different Sharks outfit in this rematch, the host won 64-5.
Saracens Impala have so far kept a clean sheet in the last four weekends, back-to-back with a single loss to Quins in the season opener. Even though I wish to see a win for Kenya Sharks, the stretch of wins for Impala will seemingly continue for them in round 6.
Blak Blad vs. Mean Machine (+5 Blad)
The battle of campuses; both teams have one win each in the past weekend, with Blad beating Thika 5-0 in round two while Machine saw off the same team, Thika, 34-5 in round 4.

wp-1451980621571.jpegThis would also have been a battle of the minnows (according to standings) but thanks to an unforgiving closure of the year 2015, the playing field was level. I would flip my coin in favor of Blad to see off Machine on a narrow margin though.
Mwamba vs. Thika RFC (+10 Kulabu)
Mwamba pulled a nickel and a dime in the final action weekend of 2015 to beat the standings leaders then, Strathmore Leos, and subsequently squash their unbeaten run. The result? Leos slumped to fourth. Sweetest victory for Kulabu so far!

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Against Millars, I see Kulabu finishing on top, unless festive season demons go hunting after them; you know the way one time Kulabu are smoking hot and untouchables then the next they are the exact opposite? Well, My Kulabu, be that impervious rock I think you are. Thank you.
Thika Millars, as I typed this specific paragraph Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ was playing in the background.. Silly coincidence I guess. But a resolution to return to winning ways in 2016 must have been drafted; I wish you all the best.
Strathmore Leos vs. Menengai Cream Homeboyz (+3 to HBR)

wp-1451980752112.jpegThis match is a derby for match day 6, both teams have even record in so far, 4-in-5 wins, the Deejays losing to Nondescripts in the first weekend whilst Strathmore Leos were out done by Mwamba.

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Strath in action against Kulabu in a past match

Homeboyz rugby had the upper hand in their last encounter against the Leos, edging them a narrow 18-15 win in the 2014/2015 Kenya cup season.
Homeboyz beat Mwamba, Mwamba beat Strathmore… prediction sorted.

KCB vs. Western Bulls. (+10 KCB)

wp-1451980792069.jpegI believe the last two meetings pitting these two teams; Bankers have always been the obvious winners of the duel. This season it will not be any different, the form of Western Bulls is slowly deteriorating unless something is done- according to close of business in December.

wp-1448544037159.jpegNot to entirely rule them out though, it’s a new year and things might change up ahead.
Nakuru RFC vs. Nondescripts (+5 Nakuru)

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Nondies’ Kanyi earnestly receiving…

Nakuru rubbed Nondies 31-14 in the first encounter (Round 2) at RFUEA grounds, and this being a home game for Wanyore they sure look to reclaim the pride of Suguta valley after that shocking loss to Impala.
Nondies have only two losses, to the hosts and Kenya Harlequins, they sure want to start the year on a high with a win over Nakuru…
I know someone somewhere is all about that vibe; Nondies beat Homeboyz, Homeboyz beat Nakuru sooo… So Nakuru will beat them again, at least as per my expectations.
Kabras Sugar vs. Kenya Harlequins. (+3 Kabras)

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Quins maul against Kabras in a past match

This is certainly the Derby of The Day.
Quins beat Kabras 19-17 in Round 2, thanks to Lyle Asiligwa’s precise kick in the final play. The match was hotly contested and I see no difference this weekend. Kabras Sugar have been on a low key performance trail for a team that finished runners up last season, not to mention the heavy investment in the pre-season.

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yeah, quins won the first round…

Kenya Harlequins closed first quarter/half of the Kenya Cup at number one with absolute wins from round one to five. With the change of the leading role experienced in November-December they ought to be cautious heading to Kakamega because there is a saying that… “You don’t let the same flame burn twice”.

There goes my 2 cents on Kenya Cup Round 6, its only better you schedule a Kenya Cup game in your weekend plan, its purely worth it. Go watch the gents square it out against each other and cheer them on. #TWENDEGAMETUJENGEGAME

Kenya Cup Round 5

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Thank you Poghie for these...

2015 bit of the rugby season is winding up on a peak for the Kenya Rugby 7s outfit and our local rugby scene to an extent.
On two subsequent weekends the rugby fraternity tasted the bitter, sour and sweet edge of the game… Shujaa had me re-living a sweet dream in reality.

FIRST, CAPETOWN 7s.

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The near master class show in South Africa earned the nation a huge leap in the overall standings, and saved Ben Ayimba’s charges from the public onslaught received after the slack show in Dubai.
Again the notable ‘Mnyore’ Nelson Oyoo was outstanding… the whole team was superb, really, but I had to give credits to him and our able steam rolling engine, ‘Papa Locole’ , Collins Injera, the No.208 guy. He signed out of Capetown in style playing an un-relative position, albeit, and adding the overall tally of his points as the third highest all time top-point scorer.

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Biko Adema was very pivotal this weekend more than ever-personal opinion hapa. He missed a couple of conversions, yeah it happens, but you have to give him a hat-tip for the defensive show he displayed. Over the years he has been super in attack but had a loose nut in defense, I guess he has finally got it fined tuned and tight.
I could go on to mention each player that took up to that pitch, I really would, but I don’t want to drag this matter to far, every Shujaa played a bigger role for the success in Capetown, you stood up against critics and regained the onus Kenya 7s deserves. Cheers!!
The Kenya Lionesses finally got a green light to join the band wagon to Rio, this was after the official withdrawal of the South African Lady Blitz Bokke team by SASCOC- Sitting… wait for it; low level of competition in the continental qualifiers, yes! that’s what they said. Sisi kama nani tukatae such an opportunity!

THEN ROUND 4.
But moving on to matters local action, as much as I would wish to revisit the Kenya Cup Round 4 in detail, I would mention two to a little bit more sentences about it.
The Leos upset over KCB carried the day, the match was a typical see-saw feud, and the ‘blue lion’ outclawed the ‘green’ one, 27-25 to climb up the summit of the Kenya Cup. Again I take this moment to remind you my earlier sentiments about a team at number two on the standings, there is every motivation to go up. Menengai Cream Homeboyz saw off Western Bulls 25-21 to record a third consecutive win back-to-back.
My boys from Suguta valley got back to winning ways trouncing a much hyped Kabras franchise 16-5, those Fijians kwaniiii…. Ni jina tu?! Swali tu maguyz . Either way, this is Nakuru rugby we are talking about, they seem to have got there Kenya Cup ‘14/’15 payback just good, while the woes at the sugar belt continue. Kenya Sharks lost 62-13 to Blak Blad as if to affirm their position at the bottom of the log, hope they will pick up somewhere.
In other round 4 matches, Mwamba lost 27-41 to Impala a contrasting picture to the side that drew against Kabras Sugar in the previous weekend. Mean Machine revamped their game over Thika Millars edging them 34-5 while Kenya Harlequins beat Nondies 20-10.
FINALLY ROUND 5.
Now to Round 5, the penultimate Kenya Cup action weekend, teams are up to close the first half of the season on a better front.

MENENGAI CREAM HOMEBOYZ vs. THIKA MILLARS RFC (+ 20 HBR)

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The Deejays seem to have a rather quick weekend closing the half of the season against a weaker Thika RFC. They just got done collecting 3-in-4 winning streak in round 4, and they would fancy to close the years campaign at a better position than the current 6th.
Thika Millars have lost all 4 weekend matches and I don’t see how they will escape this one. It’s a clear dent to their campaign while at 12th place, and if at all the stretch of losses carry on into next year, I see another Eldoret RFC kind of exit.

STRATHMORE LEOS vs. MWAMBA RFC (+4 to Leos)
Kulabu are from soaking a sour loss against the chaps from Ngong Road, a result that had me twitch a bit. I couldn’t figure out how they were able to hold Kabras to a deadlock then loose miserably to Impala… How amazing rugby can be at times.

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Strathmore Leos now on the fore front of the standings will play all out to maintain the spot over the weekend. They should be aware though of the ‘fatigue’ that comes with being at the top, Nakuru experienced it, KCB would know better.

KCB vs. KABRAS SUGAR (+3 Bankers)
As the weekend derby shapes up, let’s keep in mind both teams have experienced equal measures of losses in different ways. The hosts have been dethroned off the driver’s seat, while the visitors are yet to taste victory 2 weekends in a row.

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This match-up also relives the Kenya Cup ‘14/’15 final duel. With the Bankers emerging victorious over Kabras, who were seasons debutants then. From my end I see the woes at Kabras stretch a little further, with KCB at 2nd place it will be tough to edge a victory out of the Den.

KENYA HARLEQUINS vs. BLAK BLAD (+12 Quins)

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Quins  are on a cruise this year, ticking the past four weekends with wins, first in the Ngong Road derby then seeing off Kabras (when we thought things were really thick for them), they pummeled Thika RFC and just last weekend they cemented a victory over Nondies, what’s left for them is to take the lead in the standings. They are steadily rising though, having climbed to 3rd after the fall of KCB.
Blak Blad are fresh from a win over Kenya Sharks, but all cards thrown on the table here, they stand slim chances to win. According to paper , it’s evident unless something special happens. But props to them for the 2 wins and 2 losses, they still lie above Kabras Sugar in the standings. (at 9)

WESTERN BULLS vs. MEAN MACHINE  (+5 Bulls)

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Echulusi might be on their way to record their first win of the season over Machine, its only fair to state that they started the season with tight fixtures, against virtually superior teams and have faced the debacle to finish 12th, below Machine. The latters sole win came through last weekend against Thika Millars.
Bulls have had an impressive glimpse of play this past weekend but failed to lead to the end, but round 5 should not bear such bad luck.

NAKURU vs. RESOLUTION IMPALA SARACENS (+8 Nakuru)

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What happens when David meets Goliath? … we all know the story’s ending. With reference to the same characters , Nakuru plays out as Goliath and Impala as David. The latter has been a giant slayer from eay back in the sevens circuit but I hardly see the same effort reciprocate this weekend.
Wanyore fresh from collecting points at Kabras’ backyard would look up to do no less than retain a win at their turf. Impala have had an impressive run too so far and with the thrashing of Kulabu last weekend ,watch out for this guys.

KENYA SHARKS vs. NONDESCRIPTS RFC (+20 Nondies)
It’s been an unlucky season so far all teams that made a debut in the Kenya cup, chief among the two, Sharks RFC. They have suffered quite a number of humiliating losses over the past 4 weekend and as they host Nondies this weekend the story line will be quite similar.

This will be a pretty much packed weekend, and what a way to close the half of the season with an attendance of one guys! Pick a match, bring your snack and your favorite “wash down”  , gear up for the penultimate weekend .
From THE BENCH, THANK YOU for breaking your schedule to view my 2 cents. Have a bountiful festive season!

Conk