Rugby Super Series: Drama and Upsets on Match Day Three in Kakamega

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Rhinos upset Cheetahs with dramatic win.
Thunderstorm halts KCB vs. Kabras match.
KCB tops standings, tied with Cheetahs.
Finals set: KCB vs. Cheetahs, Rhinos vs. Kabras.

The third match day of the Rugby Super Series in Kakamega was nothing short of dramatic, featuring unexpected victories, intense comebacks, and a weather-related game abandonment. Held at the Bull Ring, the day’s events showcased the unpredictable nature of rugby and the intense competition among the teams

Rhinos Upset Cheetahs in a Thrilling Early Kickoff

Few anticipated the Faiba Mobile Rhinos to topple the competition favorites, Menengai Cream Cheetahs, in the early kickoff. With significant lineup changes, the Rhinos, under the new guidance of Head Coach Paul Murunga, displayed immediate impact and strategic prowess.

Ryan Odua ignited the Rhinos’ charge with an early try, setting the tone for a fiercely contested match. Victor Odhiambo further solidified their lead with his first try, although Stephen Osumba missed the conversion. The Cheetahs, also fielding a rotated squad, fought back valiantly. Captain Amos Nyamanya scored a converted try, and flyhalf Abutwalib Abdalla added a penalty, leveling the scores at 10-10.

Odhiambo then secured his brace, and Osumba’s successful conversion plus a spectacular 52-meter penalty extended the Rhinos’ lead to 20-10 at halftime.

Second-Half Comeback and Final Push

The second half saw the Cheetahs make crucial substitutions, bringing in Samson Onsomu at scrumhalf and Chrispin Shitundo at inside center. These changes paid off as Shitundo and Emmanuel Mboya each scored tries, leveling the match at 20-20. Abdalla’s penalty then gave the Cheetahs their first lead at 23-20.

However, the Rhinos were not done. The introduction of Paul Mutsami proved decisive. From a 5-meter scrum, Mutsami scored the game-winning try, securing a 25-23 victory for the Rhinos. His impactful performance earned him the man of the match accolade.

Weather Interrupts KCB vs. Kabras Clash

The second game of the day was dramatically halted in the 60th minute due to severe thunderstorms. Before the match was abandoned, KCB Bank Lions were leading Kabras Sugar Buffaloes 20-5. Levi Amunga had been in exceptional form, scoring five penalties and contributing to a Derrick Wechuli try.

Kabras’ only response came from a try by center Hillary Salano. Additionally, KCB’s Claude Kennedy was sent off for foul play, which will see him miss the final despite his promising debut.

Standings and Future Fixtures

The results of the weekend reshaped the tournament standings. KCB Bank Lions ascended to the top of the table, tied with Menengai Cream Cheetahs but ahead on goal difference. Faiba Mobile Rhinos moved up to third, level on points with Kabras Sugar Buffaloes, who now sit fourth.

The Rugby Super Series will return to Nairobi on Saturday, May 25, for its concluding weekend. KCB Bank Lions will face Menengai Cream Cheetahs in the highly anticipated final, while Faiba Mobile Rhinos will compete against Kabras Sugar Buffaloes in the bronze final.

Insights and Implications

The Faiba Mobile Rhinos’ victory over the Cheetahs underscores the impact of strategic coaching and player management. Paul Murunga’s return and immediate influence highlight the importance of leadership in turning the tide for a team. Meanwhile, the Cheetahs’ ability to adapt mid-game and mount comebacks indicates their depth and resilience, essential traits for any top team.

The abandonment of the KCB vs. Kabras match due to lightning is a reminder of the unpredictable nature of outdoor sports. Despite the interruption, KCB’s dominance in the initial stages of the game showcased their potential and set the stage for an exciting final.

Key Performers and Their Stats
Ryan Odua (Faiba Mobile Rhinos): Scored an early try immediately after kickoff.

Victor Odhiambo (Faiba Mobile Rhinos)

Scored two tries, securing a brace.
Contributed to Rhinos’ lead with crucial points.

Stephen Osumba (Faiba Mobile Rhinos)

Kicked a 52-meter penalty.
Added a conversion to extend the lead.
Amos Nyamanya (Menengai Cream Cheetahs): Scored a converted try, leveling scores initially.

Abutwalib Abdalla (Menengai Cream Cheetahs)

Kicked two penalties and one conversion.
Key player in Cheetahs’ comeback attempts.

Levi Amunga (KCB Bank Lions)

Scored five successful penalties.
Contributed significantly to KCB’s lead before match abandonment.

Courtesy photo

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