Sevens

Rugby Uganda: The National Rugby 7S in a Nutshell after three rounds

After three pulsating rounds, the teams get another weekend off as they look towards a trip to western Uganda. From what has been observed so far in the first three circuits, here is a brief view of how the core teams have been performing.

Pirates Rugby

The golden boys of the last year and a half have  proven that what they have isn’t a temporary faze but a reign that we should expect for sometime to come. With a vibrant young talented group hungry for silverware, the men in red and black have won two of the three circuits so far – falling to an inspired sevens academy team.

Credit: Guinness Uganda

They sit comfortably at the top of the standings especially due to the inconsistencies of the chasing pack. They have found a way to always get the job done regardless of whether they are at full strength or using their understudies – they suffered a scare to influential man Haruna Muhammed in the semi finals last weekend which could have played part in their demise in last weekend’s final. Their one goal in Mbarara is to make amends for what happened at Kyadondo.

 

Betway Kobs

The Blue Army has shown two sides of themselves so far – being absolutely red hot during the group stages and quarters only to turn cold when it comes to the penultimate round and the finals. They have a number of young players that have been given a lot more responsibility this year but experience is a thing that still lacks among their ranks. The ability to finish off at the business end is still scarce and has made the national 7s defending champions fail to win a single circuit so far – Pirates evades them fast, they need a response very soon.

Hima Heathens

Uganda’s most successful group have had a lacklustre display by their own lofty standards – dropping out in the quarter finals on two occasions and making the semis this past weekend only to be humbled by the youthful Pirates Rugby charges.

Heathens have a long way to go if they are to remain in contention for the series – it isn’t yet a case of all hope lost for them since this year presents more circuits than usual which gives them ample time to stage a come back starting with Mbarara, A must win if they are to be taken seriously in this competition (in my opinion).

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Warriors Rugby

The purple and black outfit from Legends rugby club are what would be called habitual under achievers – consistent in their average finish in the sevens so far. The warriors have finished in the quarter finals in all three circuits.

Two things come to mind ; a case of fitness that starts to tell when they reach the knockouts having tussled gallantly through the groups only to choke on the pressure at the business end. However one could also attribute this to a lack of proper cohesion that sees many of their highly rated 7s stars fail to gel.

Size doesn’t do them justice as well ; the squad isn’t the biggest as compared to the teams they aspire to beat. Unless there is a change in the cards, finishing 5th or 6th is what looks likely.

Rams

One of the most organised groups in Ugandan rugby, with them you get a sense of community but with all the praises off the field, they haven’t been able to replicate the performances they have shown in previous years. This could be strongly attributed to the abscence of leader / coach/ player Richard Lumu who was instrumental to the simple game they play, moving the ball around from left to right until the opposition opens up.

The younger lads haven’t mastered the art of finishing off – often falling short for all the possession they usually have. The team has featured more in the plate cup so far.

Jinja Hippos

The darlings of 7s rugby in Uganda that shocked all rugby circles when they came to the limelight, beating everyone in their path with the exhibition rugby on display. As all good things come to an end, teams have figured out how to handle them – this has been the case in this series. A mediocre finish in the first circuit followed by a very commanding one in the second in Jinja only to be woeful at Kyadondo in the third.

A rugby fan echoed what most must have been thinking, “their rugby is only on showcase in Jinja nowadays”. It is unexplainable how the same team can make a final and fail to qualify from the groups the following week. Surely an enigma, let’s wait to see how they react in 10 days time.

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Plascon Mongers

The men from Entebbe have had a pretty mediocre show thus far as well but despite that they have a lot to look forward to ; a bunch of young enterprising players who are made from a different mould compared to the norm that is the “brute mongers style”. Timothy Luyirika and company have brought a certain flair to compliment what the Mongers are all about – the geling is still a work in progress but all in due time for this group. I highly doubt they will have a big impact in the series this time.

Shell Rimula Rhinos

Post Brian Makalama life continues to be quite challenging – 7s appear not to be a priority for the Rimula boys as most of their big names seem to shy away from the 7s challenge bar the likes of Kevin Makmot and David Otwi. This has been a testing ground for most of their new prospects and continues to remain the case basing on what has been seen so far. Their performances aren’t the kind that need any special recognition ; lacklustre at best.

Sevens Academy

Arguably one of the unions greatest initiatives, the young boys being groomed for future international endeavours have been particularly good for boys their age. Most notable was their truimph in the third circuit at the Toyota Buffaloes 7s circuit.

Despite having an extra push from their seniors in the form of Joseph Aredo, Phillip Wokorach, Aaron Ofoirwoth and Solomon Okia ; the boys held their ground even when the quartet of sevens stars were on the bench. The boys still have a long way to go but remain on the right track – last weekend will definitely be an immense confidence boost.

Toyota Buffaloes

The Kyadondo side haven’t been able to reach the heights they did in the days when they had Alfred Bijik and Phillip Wokorach in their ranks, the phrase – “so near but yet so far” best describes their efforts. The Kyadondo team have reached the semis twice despite having the capability to go even further.

 

In ten days time, we shall see what turn the national sevens take but for now Pirates sit still in the driving seat, two more circuit victories would surely guarantee the series trophy.

Let’s Talk Rugby

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