Sevens

Rugby Uganda: Pirates are still the team to beat despite losing finale

After conquering Jinja, the Guinness Rugby series returned to the capital city last weekend as third team from the Jinja series and Kyadondo based side Toyota Buffaloes hosted the third round in Lugogo.

Pirates came into the third round as the team to beat with 44 points from two rounds and their intent showed, winning all three group stage games with masterclasses from Timothy Kisiga, Jinja 7s MVP Haruna Muhammad and flyer Baron Kasozi.

It was the most competitive round thus far with all rugby players in the country involved regardless of their national duties. With the Elgon Cup in less than week, the National team coach, John Duncan was out in the Kyadondo sun, with assistant Robert Sseguya, watching his charges run about playing rugby. The same goes for 7s coach Tolbert Onyango who was in the stands watching out for new talent, as well as observing the growth of his crop for San Francisco later this month.

The Gulu Elephants failed to make the trip to Kampala and their slot was subsequently taken up by Uganda 7s academy select side, to complete their group alongside Hima Cement Heathens, Shell Rimula Rhinos and the second best team from the Jinja 7s, Hippos. A spineless Rhinos side failed to get a single win from the group losing all three of their games and subsequently dropping to the plate knockouts.

The best games of the group stages would involve the Heathens, Kobs, 7s Select side and hosts Buffaloes. National 7s champions, Betway Kobs, were lined up to face Toyota Buffaloes and for the greater part of the game, all was even until Adrian Kasiito turned on the after burners to score for the blue army in the corner. Buffaloes would have a late reply in kind after Kevin Kermundu broke the line and kicked the ball ahead for himself to find. The ball dodged defending Kasiito, falling into Kermundu path and the pint sized runner made no mistake but to score right below the posts. The conversion was the last kick of the game as Buffaloes took the game 7-5.

Heathens have been huffing and puffing but not showing any results. For this round, they summoned all their old guns with Otim Allan, Chris Lubanga, Bishop Onen and Michael Wokorach alongside Oyet Joseph and Romano Ogwal. They would go on to win two games against Rhinos and Hippos but lose to the 7s select side. The select side, consisting of internationals Joseph Aredo, Phillip Wokorach, Solomon Okia and Aaron Ofoiwroth would prove a meal a little bigger for Heathens to handle. The Heathens led, inspired by Michael Wokorach but Phillip Wokorach would return the favor for his side, in the end winning 19-14 after a very entertaining 14 minutes of 7s contest.

The invitational select side would later make the main cup final, against Pirates. Pirates beat Heathens for the umpteenth time this year in the semi final, winning 40-00 while the select 7s side made it to the final at the expense of the hosts, Toyota Buffaloes, winning 12-07. Pirates would go on to lose their first ever game in the 7s series this year after impressive work from Sempeke and scorers Okia Solomon Okia and Phillip Wokorach would prove too much for the Uganda Cup holders.

Despite the loss, Pirates have a cushion of 10 points between them and second placed Kobs, who are being tracked closely by Buffaloes and Heathens.

The Thunderbirds failed to turn up too for the ladies showdown, leaving black Pearls to beat Entebbe Ladies 29-00 and Black Panthers 19-00 to win the Buffaloes hosted series for the ladies.

Results:

LADIES:
Black Pearls 29-00 Entebbe Ladies
Black Pearls 19-00 Black Panthers

MEN:
Knockouts:
QF 1: Black Pirates 17-00 Plascon Mongers
QF 2: Rams 05-12 Select 7s Academy
QF 3: Toyota Buffaloes 17-07 Warriors
QF 4: Hima Cement Heathens 15-14 Betway Kobs

Semi Final 1 – Black Pirates 40-00 Hima Cement Heathens
Semi Final 2 – Select 7s Academy 12-07 Toyota Buffaloes

Main Cup Final – Select 7s Side 24-05 Black Pirates

 

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