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Simbas kick off Elgon Cup chase

Kenya national rugby side Simbas will kick start their Elgon Cup title defence Saturday when they take on hosts Uganda Cranes at the Legends Rugby Club in Kampala.

Last season was made possible courtesy of a 56-51 aggregate win leaving Kenya in high spirits to raid for more points from the Cranes when they meet up Saturday in a pitch whose last meeting back in 2017 saw Kenya defied all the odds to win it 23-18.

With the cup’s ultimate decider and bragging rights set for July 7 at the RFUEA Grounds, the return leg will see the Simbas go on full throttle at home to block the visitors from re-staging an upset this season.

The 56-51 win last season was one of the biggest tests the Cranes have ever posed against the Simbas at the RFUEA Grounds, pulling the upset of the year to register a 33-33 stalemate here in Nairobi at the RFUEA Grounds to prompt new head coach Ian Snook to get the players match-ready within the short time.

This is New Zealander coach Snook’s first test alongside his assistant Murray Roulston.

Under the new coaches, Simbas will be inspired to extend their prowess in the international cup founded in 1958, to boost their record wins to 19 against Uganda’s 10 wins.

The match will act as the perfect test for Simbas who will have a bigger mission this year, hunt for the African Gold cup which doubles up as the sole ticket to Japan 2019 World Cup.

Simbas next match will also be an away clash slated for June 23 against Morocco before returning home to take on Zimbabwe at the RFUEA Grounds in their second African championship match.

Meanwhile the Kenya Lionesses have been tipped to shine in the Africa cup sevens rugby tournament to kick off in Gaberone, Botswana Saturday.

Lioness have been tipped to shine in the tournament where they finished as the runners-up last season after falling 12-17 to the defending champions South Africa who have pulled out of the competition to concentrate on their world cup sevens preparations.

Lionesses headline Pool A, which also consist of Madagascar and Senegal while the hosts Botswana are in Pool C alongside Zambia and Mauritius. Tunisia will headline pool B consisting of Uganda and Zimbabwe.

With South Africa out of the way, Kevin Wambua charges have a realistic chance of lifting their maiden African cup sevens title despite the presence of Tunisia as one of the most experienced sides in the tournament.

Lioness will unfortunately miss the services of Stanbic Mwamba duo of centre Celestine Masinde and fly half Doreen Remour , two of the most capped players in the team due to unavailability but have been replaced by able debutants Diana Awino and Sophia Ayieta.

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