A fourth place finish, at worst, is what Catholic University aka Catholic Monks are willing to settle for at the close of the regular Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) second tier Championship league.
At fourth, the team will still be home during the post season playoffs. On the reverse, a number one or two finish, that will see them avoid the initial playoff, is top of their menu.
Those are the sentiments of the team coach Simon Jawichre who led the team to Kenya Cup promotion in 2016.
“It’s a tight race up there. We lost at the weekend (15-8 away to Masinde Muliro University) and USIU also lost (21-15 to Kitale) and that’s why we remained on (joint) top,”
“Best time to review our position is after crossover games. When we finish with Kisii that’s when the proper review can be done because when we are down to our pools we play teams that we have played before. The crossover games will let you know whether you are going downhill or uphill. A trip to Western is as tricky as it can be,”
At the start of the season Catholic University was banded with rivals USIU, Mombasa RFC, South Coast Pirates, Egerton University and Ngong RFC in pool A.
Western Bulls, Kisumu RFC, Kisii RFC, University of Eldoret (UoE) and two promoted sides MMUST and Kitale RFC made pool B.
According to the set structure, games within the pool are to be played in home and away basis. Each team will then play once against teams in the other pool.
In the first two games, Catholic Monks cleaned out Coastal sides South Coast Pirates and Mombasa RFC 17-19 and 39-9, respectively.
A 16-6 win over Ng’ong and 24-5 over Egerton Wasps in week three and five were to follow. In between, a game away to USIU was abandoned in the 65th minute as they trailed 15-0. It was later awarded to the hosts.
They were to hit Western Bulls 27-10 in week six then followed it up with an 8-3 away win over hosts Kisumu in Week 7. Then there came a 24-5 win over University of Eldoret in week 8 and a 15-8 loss to Masinde Muliro last weekend. So far they have won all home games.
“We always say our home is a cauldron, that’s where we fight tooth and nail. That’s where we are most comfortable. But when we travel other element come into play, it’s hostile,”
“I believe we are built for the playoffs but off course we are fighting for number one or number two because that gives us a cushion. From three to six you have to play a quarterfinal and that means you have three games to the final and to win it,”
“At number one and two you have a small cushion because you are hosting a semi. That’s why we are aiming to be there. Number three and four is not that bad because three hosts six, four hosts five. Four will be our bare minimum for the season,”
Catholic Monks host Kitale RFC on Saturday in their penultimate crossover game before finishing off with a trip to Kisii RFC the weekend after.
Thereafter, the team will kick off their pool game reversals with games against South Coast Pirates (home), Mombasa RFC (away), Ng’ong (away), USIU (home) then wrap up the season with an away game to Egerton Wasps, in that order.