With Term One National School Games action now in the back burner, the 2019 East Africa first phase of qualification is over and the identity of all the teams in basketball, hockey, rugby 15s, rugby 7s, swimming, handball, cross-country and athletics that will be competing in Arusha, Tanzania in August is known.
After the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) decided to have rugby sevens and 15s played together in term one, as expected, rugby action highlighted the week-long inter school competition held in Shanzu Teachers College and Shimo La Tewa High School grounds in Mombasa.
Here are some of the talking points.
Kakamega History in Rugby 15s
Powerhouse Kakamega School clinched their unprecedented eighth title in rugby 15s after edging Nairobi’s Dagoretti 18-11 in the finals.
The Western region based team reclaimed the title they last won in 2017 bouncing back after they were shocked by Menengai in the semi-finals in last year’s edition, won by Upper Hill.
The multiple national champions popularly known as Barbarians and who have produced potent players in the country won all her matches from the group stages all the way to the finals.
Placed in Pool ‘B’, the 2016 East-Africa champions downed Kabianga 27-09, Kangaru 21-09 and Galana 62-03 to top the group before thrashing Alliance 22-03 in the last four to set up a showdown with Dagoretti in the final.
At the same time, high flying Kakmega fullback David Kamau was feted the Most Valuable Player of the 15s for his outstanding performance, with his feat capping another milestone for his side.
Upper Hill Maiden 7s title
Fresh from bagging their first ever 15s title in 2018, the Nairobi region based school defied all odds to clinch their maiden sevens title to complete their National School Games mesmeric run in two years.
To win the title, Upperhill, who are also the Nairobi champions stunned immediate champions Laiser Hill 12-7 in a pulsating final bagging their first ever sevens title and in the process claimed the ‘Battle of Hills ‘ bragging rights.
Enroute to writing history, the Thomas Walgwe coached side saw off Katwanyaa of Machakos, Kerugoya of Central, last year’s 15s fellow finalist Menengai, St. Peter’s Mumias and Laiser.
After losing in the 2016 finals, it was a sweet affair for the Nairobians, and a god time to inflict revenge on their opponents who denied them the title three years ago.
If they replicate their heroics in their first outing in East Africa as Kenyan champions in August in Arusha, Tanzania, Upper Hill will become the first ever team to clinch national and East Africa 15s and 7s titles in two years.
Teams Making East Africa Return
In Tanzania, there will be regulars in both versions but it will also be a chance for other teams which will be making a return to the scene after a long hiatus.
Nairobi’s Dagoretti who finished runners up in 15s losing to Kakamega, will be representing Kenya for the first time ever while Kangaru will be making a comeback since 2013. Kangaru defeated Alliance in the third place play-off.
In sevens, 2015 champions St. Peter’s Mumias will be making a return after finishing third, behind champions Upper Hill and Laiser Hill.
Since Kenya is the defending champions in rugby, it will send six teams in Tanzania; three for sevens and other three in 15s.
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