After 7 games for all the sides in Ugandan Rugby premiership, the battle at the bottom is starting to heat up with the last three (Rams, Hippos and Barbarians) sharing 5 points a piece separated merely by points difference basing on how much they have been conceding and scoring thus far.
New comers Walukuba Barbarians sit at the floor of the standings followed by the Hippos and the Rams, on the way up. The fight at the bottom seems to have come early with teams being full aware that any laxity from this point on could see them face an unassailable margin that will only condemn them to relegation.
The battle starts as soon as this weekend with the bottom three aware that every point matters. Not forgetting that even the margin of loss is key in keeping head above water.
Richard Lumu and the Rams host the unbeaten Hima Heathens. Heathens are the only unscathed side following the Warriors loss last weekend. A 16-00 victory against the Mongers at Kyadondo will provide Rams with a renewed source of optimism in a game that Heathens failed to get the bonus point, they did get the result but struggled to do so.
Rams take pride in discipline, organisation and hard work – they will be hoping that a shaky start to the new year for the table leaders continues as they intend to have their defence at its best and scrap at every chance thrown to them. The home crowd will be key in creating an uncomfortable atmosphere for the visitors at the “Graveyard”. Rams will be hoping to upset the Green machine and better yet jump out of the dog pit of the bottom 3.
Walukuba Barbarians have the early kick off at the Legends rugby grounds in Kampala as they lock horns with a Rhinos side that just lost their top scorer; Scott Oluoch to Kenyan side Harlequins. This will come as a blow for the Rimula boys – Scott’s performances have been a direct contrast of the team’s form and will sorely be missed as he leaves a big gap that needs to be filled quick. Walukuba will take whatever good fortune comes their way as they know that a “Scott-less” Rhinos side is less of a challenge and will be going all out to destabilize their hosts in a bid to jump from 10th position. Coach Leonard’s tactics will prove key in how the Barbarians can orchestrate victory away from home.
The Hippos seem to have the most realistic of ties among the three as they face an off form Mongers side that hasn’t had a good record travelling away from home. Hippos is very popular for their expansive running style that suits their stretchy home turf to the letter while the Mongers side rely on their brute force to survive. Coach Kigongo of the Entebbe Mongers will be fully aware that this is the kind of fixture his boys need to win in order to consolidate a mid table position whereas the Hippos are sure to have been observing Mongers’ trend thus far and know that a rare opportunity presents itself and they have to cease it with both hands.
While everyone focuses on the top teams, the bottom poses a set of juicy conundrums that unravel starting this Saturday in game week eight at the different venues.
Nile Special Premiership GW 8:
MRI Rams vs Hima Cement Heathens – Graveyard : 4.30pm
Jinja Hippos vs Plascon Mongers – Jinja : 4:30pm
Walukuba Barbarians vs Shell Rimula Rhinos – Legends 2:30pm