Home Rugby National Rugby Championship Five things we learnt from the Championship final

Five things we learnt from the Championship final

by James Kavuma
3 minutes read
Home Rugby National Rugby Championship Five things we learnt from the Championship final

The illustrious and revamped rugby championship came to an end last Saturday at Kyadondo Rugby Club with the Platinum Credit Heathens standing tall, emerging 15-13 winners over former defending champions, Stanbic Black Pirates.

So, what did we learn?

1. Ivan Magomu is him.

Saturday was just another day for Ivan Magomu to show the country what we already know that he is the best flyhalf in the country, and there is daylight between him and the next best flyhalf.

To paraphrase Rugbypass, “the primary role of the fly-half is to act as the team’s main decision maker. When they receive the ball, they must decide whether to kick, run or pass. The decision the rugby fly half makes will depend on how they read the game in front of them, how they receive the ball from the forwards, where they are on the pitch and the game situation.”

Taking the team’s captaincy from him was the best thing that ever happened to Ivan. He now has more freedom to operate and tear apart teams without having to always make faces at referees.

Let’s face it, you need Magomu with ball in hand and not having tough words with referees.

2. Roy Kizito will be fine.

Roy Kizito’s move to the Stanbic Black Pirates from the Impis was done in stealth mode and there wasn’t much expected of the lad given the different dimensions that Impis and Pirates play in.

    When Roy turned on the style with the National 7s team, the country was issued a burn notice on his potential. Pirates faithful waited for him to wear their colours in the redesigned rugby championship and the final was an outing with great promise.

    Roy has time on his side, seeing as he is a young lad. Roy Kizito on defense was a cork stopper plugging gaps and halting Heathens’ attackers in their efforts to move forward.

    He was the most useful member of the Pirates back three in the entire final, yet he was the one with the least experience. The cherry on top of this cake was his awareness to stay wide in the second half, bide his time, and beat his oncoming defender with the outside-inside step to score a try. Things are only going to get better for Roy.

    3. A tale of two halves.

    Rugby players all look tough on the exterior but are just young boys on the inside. Did you know that the two teams were singing, “Shake shake the mango tree, mango yellow, mango green, one for you and one for me” during warmups?

    They brought this into the game with the Heathens dominating the first half and Pirates paying them back in equal measure in the second half. The first half was all about the Heathens, enjoying a lot of territory and possession, denying Pirates entry into their ‘22 in so-doing.

    The second was all about Pirates. They came to life. They were running and carrying for fun, and flipped the script on the Heathens. Such has been the characteristic of their playoff games; strong in one half and lethargic in another.

    4. Forwards win rugby matches.

    In the games preceding the final for the Heathens (semifinal legs against the KCB KOBs), their forwards came under scrutiny. Rightly so. This was because they got pushed about and toyed with by their cross-road nemeses.

      The finale was a different story. The pack showed up and showed out for the Heathens. “The forwards win the game and the backs decide by how much.”

      They constantly put Heathens over the gain line and went on to as much as score two tries for the Heathens (Byamugisha Emmanuel and Joachim Chisano). By the time the Pirates breathed life into their chances, it was already too little too late.

      5. Stand up for the Champions.

      Beating the Heathens in a final is a hard paper. Beating the Heathens in a final at Kyadondo rugby club is much much harder. Pirates found out the hard way. The yellow machine is built for such times.

        The Heathens now boast of 17 league titles, taking the crown back from Pirates who won it in 2023. In addition, the Pirates kept their streak of not being able to win the title in two consecutive seasons in the last 15 years.

        The Kyadondo side now enjoys a 4-0 record in the end-of-season playoff format that has now been employed on four occasions in the last 20 years (2004, 2005, 2013, and 2024). The Heathens have emerged winners on all four occasions.

        Courtesy Photos

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