Kenya rugby 15’s season kicks off this Saturday with matches in the Kenya Cup, Nationwide League and the Eric Shirley Shield countrywide. These fixtures will take place between Saturday and March 2014 when the various leagues come to an end.
The country’s top league, the Kenya Cup, will for the first time feature 14 teams—five of which are from outside Nairobi and will be played on a one off round robin format. The top four sides after13 rounds of action will head into the one-legged semi-finals and final round.
Teams from outside Nairobi are —defending champions Top Fry Nakuru (Nakuru), Western Bulls (Kakamega), Mombasa Sports Club (Mombasa), Kisumu RFC (Kisumu) and Eldoret RFC.
The expanded Kenya Cup brings with it a total of 95 matches, (91 in the round robin league phase and 4 in the semifinals, third place playoff and final). This league see witness Eldoret make their Kenya Cup debut on their return to top flight rugby.
This will be their first major tournament since winning Enterprise Cup in 1947 while Mombasa returns to the Kenya Cup after a six year hiatus. The bottom two sides will be relegated with the top two sides in the Nationwide League earning promotion.
The Eric Shirley Shield is for all intents and purposes a reserve league and will feature the reserve sides of all 14 Kenya Cup sides, playing the same format as the Kenya Cup.