Hima Cement Heathens salvage some pride, after a master class performance in the first half proves so heavy for Rhinos to mount a comeback.
From the get go, you would get the feeling Rhinos were going to be attacking relentlessly, with Heathens on the back foot for most of the time. And so it was. Rhinos almost got on the score board within the first five minutes through Scott Oluoch but the Heathens defense was as tight as they come. With the possession and territory, Rhinos had nothing to show for it but two substantive attacks from Heathens and Lawrence Ssebuliba made them count with two tries, which Okwera failed to convert. Nonetheless, he was able to get in a penalty to send the Hima boys to the half time break with a 13-00 lead.
The Heathens started the second half with the same mantle like they ended the first, with two unconverted tries thanks to Aaron Wanyoto and ever reliable Michael Wokorach. A little relaxation and assurance later, Rhinos got a penalty and two tries of their own through David Otwii and Micheal Amollo but it was too little, too late as the Heathens left the pitch 23-15 winner.
Heathens rid their starting XV of Cox, Bishop, Lubanga and let fresher and hungrier legs and spirits run at the Rhinos and it paid off heavily. They were very disciplined and mean at the back until the substitutes came on, and Rhinos points started trickling in.
Coach Makalama clearly went for strength to nullify Lawrence Ssebuliba by assembling and gambling with the aggressive Byron Oketayot as his opposite number. The former beat him with ease on several occasions and hence the two tries. Byron is your textbook forward player, most used as a lock but also a commendable flanker. He had a forgettable day on the wing, and was simply no match for Ssebuliba.
On a day where Heathens would have had a more bullish scoreline, the kicker Simon Okwera left his good luck stockings in the closet and cost his team a more commanding lead. Clearly, there is much for the Machete to learn from the waning Lubanga about kicking. On a positive note, in Okwera and Kato, Heathens are finding a very young and potent halfback pairing.