The SDV Transami Cheetahs will meet the UAP Rhinos for the Bamburi Rugby Super Series title after disposing of their opponents in muddy conditions at the RFUEA Grounds on semi final Saturday.
SDV Transami Cheetahs 20 Kampala Coach Rhinos 3
Charles Ngovi's SDV Transami Cheetahs made it to their first BRSS final since the successful 2006 campaign when they beat Uganda's Kampala Coach Victoria in the day's opening fixture.
Fly Half Nato Simiyu opened the scoring on five minutes when he sliced through the Victoria defence to touch down. His Scrum half Mike Mugo kicked over this conversion for a 7-0 Cheetahs lead. They built on this momentum with a second try from back row Kevin Umbuge. Mugo missed this conversion as the cats built a 12-0 lead. Mugo capped this period of Cheetahs dominance with a penalty for a 15-0 lead.
This prompted Victoria into action as they finally came to terms with the slippery RFUEA grounds. Experienced winger Allan Musoke breached the Cheetahs defense, gaining good ground for the Ugandans. The resultant ruck saw Cheetahs penalized for an infringement. Full back Simon Wakabi cut the deficit to twelve points with a successful goal attempt. SDV Transami Cheetahs 15 Kampala Coach Victoria 3.
The lively Musoke again breached the Cheetahs defense, combining with Wakabi who dropped the ball agonizingly short of the cats try line. Back rower Alex Mubiru and Center Timothy Mudoola also threatened but were again thwarted short of the try line as the teams grappled with the difficult playing surface. John Bosco Muamba blew his half time whistle with the scores at 15-3 in favour of the Cheetahs.
The second half began on a pedestrian note before bursting into life courtesy of Simiyu who snuck through the Victoria back line, playing in center Kelvin Omiyo who was stopped meters from the try line. The slippery surface did no favours to both sets of teams, handling errors characterizing long periods of the second half before Winger Vincent Mose broke loose, gaining close to thirty meters before playing in Kevin Gisore who touched down. Second half substitute Moses Kola missed this conversion with the Cheetahs leading 20-3, a lead they held to the end.
Speaking after the game, Cheetahs Assistant Coach Mark Cole said, "The difficult pitch conditions made for a difficult game of rugby. " He attributed his side's win on dominant possession and converting the chances that came their way.
He added,"after a lackluster first half, the lads dug deep and came out better in the second half, pinning the opponent in their own half. My players ,the entire coaching and management staff are gearing towards nothing short of the Super Series. It is the biggest tournament in the region, it brings out the best in players."
Victoria coach Sam Ahamya blamed fatigue for his side's loss. "We did a thirteen hour road trip from Kampala, arriving in Nairobi on Friday morning. This clearly showed in the way we played, especially in the first half. All in all we rushed our game, ended up playing to our opponent's strength. As much as we suffered from the state of the pitch, both teams were affected by the wet and muddy conditions. The lads were impressive in scrimmaging and our lineouts were exception but I admit we were slow to the ruck. This has been a good experience for most of my players even though their inexperience and hesitation to convert chances showed. "
He crowned his comments by saying, "This has been a good experience for my players…unlike the Kenyan teams where all the best Kenyan players turn up for different franchises, my team is essentially made up of players who will be deemed second stringers in the Ugandan set up."
SDV Transami Cheetahs
15. Charles Kanyi ,14.Vincent Mose, 13. Kevin Gisore, 12. Kelvin Omiyo,11.Bobby Oyugi,10. Nato Simiyu, 9. Mike Mugo, 8.Paul Oimbo, 7.Ben Nyambu, 6.Kevin Umbuge, 5. Mike Aung (Captain), 4. Jake Kamau, 3. Nzioka Muema, 2. Frank Ndong, 1. Lawrence Terer
23. Hilary Itela, 21. Alex Mutune, 20. Moses Kola, 19. Ken Nyagetuba, 18. Malik Ndemi,17. Giles Littlewood, 16. Mike Kimani
Coach: Charles Ngovi
Kampala Coach Victoria
15. Simon Wakabi ,14.Allan Musoke, 13. Timothy Mudoola, 12. Greg Rukendo,11.Kikawa Brian,10. Chris Lubanga, 9. Gama Faisal, 8.Mukama Arthur, 7.Mubiru Alex, 6.Ogwete Steven, 5. Dumba Timothy (Captain), 4. Wandia Victor, 3. Makalama Brian, 2. Richard Aciko, 1. Adigas Ronald
22. Tobias Ssenkima, 21. Leslie Ochieng', 20. Lenny Kikonyogo, 19. Odonga Francis, 18. Byaruhanga Brian,17. Marshall Telcham, 16.Martin Karungojo
Coach: Sam Ahamya
UAP Rhinos 17 Lions 5
Edward Kinyany's UAP Rhinos moved to within eighty minutes of becoming the first team in BRSS history to successfully defend their title with a hard fought 17-5 win over Howard Okwemba's Lions.
Lions' lock Ronnie Mwenesi ensured this match got off on a high tempo when he picked a loose ball from a Rhinos knock on kick off, beating the gain line for a ruck deep in the Rhinos half with barely a minute gone. Isaac Adimo relieved his side's pressure with a massive kick into Lions territory. Lions full back Matthew Musita sliced his touch kick, putting his side under pressure before flanker Andrew Amonde intervened, regaining possession for the Lions .
The Rhinos began to assert themselves, forcing an infringement out of the Lions. Scrum half Edwin Achayo opted to run the ball wide, finding young talent David Ambunya who touched down with ten minutes gone. Peter Abuoga missed this conversion as the Rhinos led 5-0.
This try signaled a lull in play before Lions Scrum half Peter Mutai played a cheeky penalty, cantering 25 yards to the try line before playing in winger Benjamin Ojema Otieno who grounded the ball. Mutai missed the conversion with the scores at 5-5.
Rhinos number eight Jeff Ojwach broke but was thwarted by Amonde who was penalized for a high tackle and sent to the sin bin on twenty three minutes . Rhinos failed to capitalize on the numerical advantage as the Lions matched them blow for blow with half time fast approaching. Rhinos won a penalty right on half time but Abuoga failed to slot it over.
Half time scores UAP Rhinos 5 Lions 5
Rhinos were quick off the mark , taking the game to the Lions. Their pressure forced the Lions into an infringement. Abuoga's massive place kick saw them win a line out deep in the Lions den. Ojwach picked the ball from the resultant line out, barging over the line with Abuoga converting for a 12-5 lead seven minutes into the second half.
The Lions came back into the game, dominating the Rhinos for large spells before Abuoga connected with full back Sidney Ashioya's cross kick to touch down at the corner flag. Abuoga missed this conversion with his side 17-5 up on sixty minutes. The Rhinos would soon lose influential Daniel Kiptoo through injury .
The Lions made a desperate attempt at clawing back into the match, losing Matthew Musita through injury. Ojwach visited the sin bin as the Rhinos held out for the win, making their fourth successive BRSS finals appearance.
Rhinos coach Edward Kinyany said,"It was a hard game..but once again my lads dug deep and it showed in the final score. We made mistakes but we play eighty minutes rugby…correcting our mistakes as the game wears on…and we play for each other. The condition of the pitch meant we could play according to our game plan…we couldn't spread it wide..but still the forwards set up some good platforms that the backs converted into points. The scores do not reflect how tight the match was."
Lions coach Howard Okwemba said,"We were let down by poor execution of the game plan…we played in the wrong territory…mostly our territory…giving the opponent good attacking positions. The boys showed great improved from their first two games…we needed to slow down the game a bit…keep it tight…but it didn't work out. This has been a good match experience for me as the tournament's youngest coach, transiting from playing to coaching…the BRSS is becoming more competitive, exposing fifteens rugby talent in pretty much the same manner Safari Sevens exposed sevens talent. I think our full back Matthew Musita was impressive..though we lost him to injury…Ronnie Mwenesi had a great game while Peter Mutai played like the veteran he is..full of leadership."
15. Sidney Ashioya ,(Captain)14.Naftali Bondo, 13. David Ambunya, 12. Graham Kombo,11.Peter Abuoga,10. Isaac Adimo, 9. Edwin Achayo, 8.Jeff Ojwach, 7.Tony Mutai, 6.David Mogere, 5. Edwin Makori, 4. Jared Owinyo, 3. Daniel Kiptoo, 2. Vincent Ongera, 1. James Kangethe
22. Bernard Chirchir, 21. Allan Onyango, 20. Leslie Libasia, 19. Kwame Owuor, 18. Richmond Baraza,17. Samuel Warui, 16. Joseph Kangethe
Coach: Edward Kinyany
15. Matthew Musita ,14. Fabian Olando, 13. Calvins Biko, 12. Brian Omondi,11.Benjamin Ojema Otieno,10. Collins Kimani, 9. Peter Mutai, 8.Ken Isindu, 7.Philip Wamae, 6.Andrew Amonde, 5. Ronnie Mwenesi, 4. Edwin Machanje, 3. Curtis Lilako, 2. Curtis Olago, 1. Edwin Alubaka (Captain)
22. Dennis Ombachi, 21. Kevin Wambua, 20. Mike Mutuku, 19. Anthony Ochino, 18. Anthony Ogot,17. Ayub Ongoro, 16. Rogers Lai
Coach: Howard Okwemba
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