Home Rugby National Rugby Championship How Heathens, KOBs and Pirates can win the 2023 league

How Heathens, KOBs and Pirates can win the 2023 league

by Emmanuel Sama
3 minutes read

With all eyes focused on the league decider between KOBs and Pirates, Heathens is lurking in the shadows waiting for one of the sides to hand it its 17th league title.

The case for Heathens

The Kyadondo side has been very subpar after its 7s players were extradited to the National team for the biggest part of the season.

As the other two title contenders were collecting bonus point wins, Heathens was winning by the skin of the teeth against the bottom table teams.

They narrowly survived a loss to Buffaloes in the recent meeting in a game that ended 20-19 with Buffaloes missing a last-minute penalty.

They also had their bonus point against KOBs rescinded in a controversial game which is still under investigation to give disciplinary sanctions after the center referee was suspended.

Despite that infamous win, they went on to lose to Pirates which turned their fortunes from being league favourites.

However, Heathens are mathematically still in the equation of the title race. This won’t be the first time they’re relying on another team to get them the title.

Back in the 2018/19 season, they were gifted the trophy in the famous KOBs-Pirates clash held on International Women’s Day.

Improbable, not impossible

From the current table standings, KOBs and Pirates are both tied at 75 points, with the former ranking top due to its higher points difference (Kobs 523, Pirates 335).

Heathens sits humbly in third place with 72 points and a points difference of 364 and there are only two scenarios where Heathens can win the league.

The first one is if KOBs and Pirates refuse to play the game which sounds very unlikely, but very possible.

The second and more feasible scenario that can grant them the win is if KOBs and Pirates drew their game.

However, that’s not the complete recipe for the spell, as more conditions would be required to spark the magic.

A draw between KOBs and Pirates would mean both teams jump to 77 points (each team is awarded 2 points in a draw) and no change in the points difference.

So, Heathens would have to win its game with a bonus (+5) to level on points with the other two teams.

Trophy moment from the last time Pirates won the Rugby Premier League

What the Rule book says

According to the 2023 Nile Special Rugby Premier League manual, the winner of the 2023 league will be declared after considering the accounts below.

The team’s table log points gained in the league. Where teams have gained equal numbers of points, the team with the better point difference shall be given preference.

If the point difference is equal then the team having recorded the most tries in the
the competition shall be given preference.

And, if the number of tries is equal the points for’ shall be divided by the points against’ and the team with the highest factor shall be declared to have the better record.

So, with all three teams tied at 77 points, the league winner would be decided by the points difference.

KOBs last won the championship in 2021

KOBs is highly favoured in this scenario. For Heathens to win, they’d have to win their game with a points difference of 160 to win the league.

They’re playing a Rams team that’s set for relegation without anything to lose. So anything is possible… mathematically.

Fitting climax to a brilliant season

However, the KOBs-Pirates game is a winner takes it all contest! A win of any kind will grant either team the league title.

KOBs won the first game at Kings Park 30-25. Since the 2014/15 campaign, they have not won both fixtures against Pirates in a single season.

In that span, Pirates has managed a double in the 2017/18 and 2022 seasons.

This game is a great climax to what has been one of the most, if not the most, exciting and competitive leagues we’ve had.

Other perks for the KOBs-Pirates showdown

Not only is the title at stake but also the battle for the golden boot between Ivan Magomu and Joseph Aredo. Magomu currently leads the charts with 136 points, with Aredo just 17 points behind.

Pius Ogena also seeks to break the record for most tries scored in a season after equaling the 22 tries tally set by KOBs legends Justin Kimono and Allan Musoke.

With such high stakes, the game is set to be officiated by experienced World Rugby Level 3 referee Saudah Adiru. Kick-off is 4 pm at Legends Rugby grounds.

By: Emmanuel Sama

Courtesy Photos

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