University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine took a huge stride towards Kenya Cup promotion after thrashing Egerton Wasps 37-0 in a KRU Championship playoff on Saturday.
Despite not having played competitive rugby since March last year, Machine, who are seeking to return to the top tier after relegation in 2019, barely showed any rustiness as they sailed through to next weekend’s semi-final where they will travel to Kakamega to face Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).
The winner of that match will earn promotion to the 2021 Kenya Cup season scheduled to start on February 27.
Another semi-final clash will see Strathmore Leos face off against Northern Suburbs.
Strathmore and MMUST received byes to the semi-finals by virtue of finishing in the top two during the regular season of the KRU Championship.
Northern Suburbs did not also have to break a sweat on their way to the last four after their playoffs opponents USIU withdrew.
In contrast to the last meeting between Egerton and Machine which was closely fought in February last year, yesterday’s contest was largely one sided from the on-set, with Machine showing their intentions of making an immediate return to the Kenya Cup.
Buoyed by home advantage, the Nairobi-based side was quick off the blocks, forcing the visitors into numerous errors in their own half.
It was a poor performance from Egerton, who were forced to play the second half a man less after Enos Musakali was red-carded for dangerous play.
Machine’s good start paid off with Festus Shiasi scoring an eighth minute penalty before Grevas Onyino delivered the game’s opening try after beating his markers for pace on the flank.
Egerton full back Lyon Nyang missed a penalty from close range before the visitors were temporarily reduced to 14 men after Kevin Kairu was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
Egerton’s wastefulness with the boot was laid bare yet again as they failed to convert another penalty from a favourable position before Machine punished them through Trevor Asina’s three-pointer.
Lawrence Ndung’u took the match beyond Egerton’s reach with Machine’s second unconverted try before Asina struck with the boot again to give the Ramsfield Matekwa-coached side a healthy 19-0 advantage at half-time.
Asina continued to impress with the boot as he added another three-pointer upon resumption as Egerton struggled to put some respectability on the scoreline.
Marvin Karungi added his name on the scoresheet with Machine’s third try of the match before Matekwa’s men completed the rout with a converted try and a penalty.