Home Rugby The Playoff Picture: Three weeks, make a wish

The Playoff Picture: Three weeks, make a wish

by James Kavuma
3 minutes read

Uganda Rugby Union switched up the premiership for the new year and we are now three weeks of rugby into the new championship, as we look forward to the knockout rounds after 11 weeks.

“At the end of game week 11, playoffs shall commence, with the top eight going toe-to-toe in the quarterfinals, where we shall inadvertently define the semifinalists and finalists.”

“On the dreaded end of the log, the bottom four sides would play in relegation deciders. The 9th place plays 12th, and the 10th place plays 11th. The losers of these games would be cut from the following season.”

Chances are next to none that these games will be set up this way but let’s say we were at the end of week 11, here is who we’d be watching.

QF1 – Toyota Buffaloes vs Jinja Hippos

Still undefeated and not afraid to attack even the big bad wolves, the Jinja Hippos are riding on the best form they’ve ever had in their ten-year history.

Defeating KCB KOBs in week 1 for the first time ever, and denying Heathens a win, to settle for a draw puts them alongside the scariest opponents this season. Lest we forget, they are one of three unbeaten sides so far.

Never count out the Toyota Buffaloes. The Kyadondo-based side is a lot like Uganda weather; you can never be sure which version of the Buffaloes will show up.

They are on two wins and one loss, trying to claw their way out of the perennial mid-table slot and break the barriers at the top.

QF2 – Walukuba Barbarians vs Rhinos

This writer understands it is just week three, but maybe, it is time to fear the horn. The Rhinos are sitting pretty at the top of the table with three wins from three games – the only team with a perfect winning record so far.

The Rhinos gave us a glimpse of what they could do during the National 7s and maybe their position shouldn’t be so much of a shocker.

The Walukuba Barbarians had a sea-saw 2023, enjoying the perks of promotion while beating up on several teams to stay up, as well as a Uganda Cup group stages to forget – managing just one win and not making the knockouts in early 2024.

Last weekend saw them register their first win of the year, thanks to a late Gift Wokorach penalty away in Entebbe and maybe it is a sign that good things are coming.

QF3 – KCB KOBs vs Platinum Credit Heathens

After a slippery start to the Championship, KOBs are finally in the winning column thanks to a commanding second half against new boys, Kampani’s Eagles.

With the boardroom changes and fights they have had to endure, the Blue Army are hopeful the tides have turned as they have already been to the toughest away stadia they could play at – Dam Waters and Kings Park Arena.

The mean yellow machine of the Platinum Credit Heathens is the third unbeaten side this year after Hippos and Rhinos.

Their most recent game against the Hippos showed that the Uganda Cup is long gone and the Championship comes with different demands.

The thing with the Heathens is that they always find a way and getting a result against a Hippos side that beat KOBs on opening weekend would be a much-needed boost.

QF4 – Plascon Mongers vs Stanbic Black Pirates

The always-undiscovered land in Entebbe which the Mongers call home has maintained an aloof status in Ugandan rugby.

A house of pain that many dread, unless you’re a Barbarian. With two wins and just one loss, Mongers’ start to the Championship is decent and with the addition of seasoned coach Brian Makalama to their ranks, you are sure to see the changes as the year progresses.

The reigning champion deserves his respect. The Pirates lost game one against the Heathens but that shouldn’t show you anything.

They are defending champions for a reason. After the week one niggle, they have mastered two wins (one of them against fierce foes, KOBs) and are steadily climbing up the log and are sitting in third behind Rhinos and Heathens.

A lot is going to change between now and week 11 so this is wishful but there are some good games to look forward to in there.

Courtesy Photos

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