Home Rugby Others Treble tumbles into tremble for SMACK at Schools rugby finals

Treble tumbles into tremble for SMACK at Schools rugby finals

by Nnalubaale Sports
2 minutes read

It was a full house at the Makerere Graveyard on Holy Saturday as rugby fanatics converged to witness the future stars going at it in the Central School Rugby League final.

Chance to win a historical treble

All eyes were on St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) after all its teams made it into the finals of the various age categories.

Everyone wants to be associated with success, which explains why several “coaching experts” flooded the SMACK camp when they were on the verge of virgin success.

After losing U15 and U17 to old rivals Kings College Budo and Namilyango College respectively, SMACK shifted all its title hopes to the U20, up against Hana International to save them from the wild goose chase.

Hana’s Road to the final

Earlier in the semifinals, Hana  had faced Budo in a see-saw clash that ended 27-22. Budo played a possession-based game and tried as much as possible to deprive Hana of the ball.

Knowing the threat the Hana backline possessed, Budo had very few kicks in open play. They prioritized possession over territory which almost worked for them but also cost them.

It takes great levels of confidence to play a possession-based game, and I applaud Coach Brian Makalama for almost pulling it off.

It’s no surprise that Budo had the best-attacking structure and they vividly looked like the best-coached team.

SMACK’s Road to the final

SMACK took what most described as the easiest route to the final, walloping Makerere College 34-05.

Despite a comfortable win, their woes were sparked in the same game when their coach, Alvin Nkamba, got a red card sidelining him from the technical area in the finals.

Nkamba has been such a revelation to SMACK rugby. It is reported that at some point he was single-handedly coaching all the SMACK teams.

Being able to take all three teams to the finals for such a young coach is something to be hailed.

Turning point in the final

His absence from the touchline in the final was greatly felt, especially after his captain, Michael Musimenta, got concussed in the first quarter of the game.

“It (the captain’s concussion) really did affect us because from then on they made poor on-field decisions that kept hurting us. He is very inspirational to his peers,” commented Nkamba.

The big-stage pressure really got to the Entebbe side when their most consistent kicker, Mathew Musasizi missed four straight kickable penalties in the first 20 minutes.

They went on to change kickers but still didn’t yield much. SMACK plays a territory-based game, with more kicks in open play than any other side. However, in rugby, a kick is only as good as the chase.

The SMACK team didn’t apply enough pressure to their kicks which resulted into minimal forced errors from Hana’s backs and consequently counter attacks.

Missed opportunity

Nkamba generally attributed this loss to failing to turn good possession and territory play into points.

Former Uganda U20 skipper, Malcolm Okello, proved very lethal on the boot, converting all his shots at goal, guiding Hana to a 15’s schools League title.

SMACK failed to deliver when it mattered most, in the finals. The last, and the only school to win a treble was Namilyango College in 2012 and they sit at a record 11 league titles.

Attention now shifts to the Nationals which will be held in Mbarara at Ntare School starting the 6th of May. We await to see if the teams upcountry can match the central teams.

By: Emmanuel Sama

Photo Credit: Philip Kairu

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1 comment

eza ruku April 12, 2023 - 3:20 PM

Nice article, just a small correction
Namilyango won the treble most recently in 2017


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