Home Rugby Win or go home!

Win or go home!

by James Kavuma
2 minutes read

At about 6pm on Saturday evening, we’ll know the teams that will be going to Mandela National Stadium for the much anticipated Rugby Championship finale.

Defending Champions, Stanbic Black Pirates, are hosting the resilient Jinja Hippos with a one-point deficit from the first leg, after losing 28-27 in Jinja, courtesy of a late Bright Mukisa try.

The Pirates go into the must-win game with history on their side, having not lost back-to-back league games since the 2016-2017 calendar. They have played the Hippos five times at home, winning all the games. But, the margins have been steadily shrinking, the last win being a 19-14 win in the 2024 regular season.

The Pirates have summoned the returning services of Minister of Defense, Isaac Massa, to run by skipper Ivan Magomu as the second five-eighth and bludgeoning ball carrier from the backline over the gainline. The side struggled in the first leg at Dam Waters for cohesion in the second half and will be looking at the 2022 Africa 7s champion for inspiration.

The Hippos are a stubborn customer, who have not conceded more than 20 points at any point this season, a testament to how airtight their defense is. They were the fourth team to inflict defeat on the Pirates this season, after the Heathens, Mongers, and Buffaloes.

With Ayman Bagalana out of the playoffs due to a training injury, the Dam Waters has recalled the seasoned John Echeru who made his return to rugby with their reserve side in the reserve league earlier on in the year.

Heathens Look to Extend KOBs’ Woes at Kyadondo

At Kyadondo, the Platinum Credit Heathens will look to seal the deal against their eternal foes, the KCB KOBs after winning 29-18 away at Legends last weekend spurred on by Malcolm Okello’s boot.

The record champions are looking to extend the KOBs’ ugly streak at Kyadondo, as the latter haven’t won at Kyadondo in 10 years, the last victory coming on 8th February 2014, a 14-13 win.

Michael Wokorach continues to be the nucleus of the team, with everything productive somehow going through the center-cum-back rower several years later. His combination and understanding with Aaron Ofoywroth will be crucial in stopping the ever-lurking Joseph Aredo and Adrian Kasito.

After a few positional tweaks during the Legends encounter, the KOBs ball started moving faster and they scored two late tries to reduce the gap, and salvage some dignity, well, what was left of it. The coaching team will do well to remember the switches that saw the change in their fate so late and ensure they start that way.

Joseph Aredo has more or less cemented his shift into center for the KOBs and the team will need his hands on the ball a lot more if they are to use their back line to get over the gain-line. Quick ball recycling will get the forwards moving well, as they did in the last 10 minutes at Legends.

Courtesy Photos

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