Winger Peter Abuoga scored 15 points that enabled the UAP Rhinos to become the first team to defend the Bamburi Rugby Super Series title with a 25-5 win over the SDV Transami Cheetahs in the final clash at the RFUEA Grounds.
The game started on the slow start typical of finals, both sides sizing up each other as they approached the game cautiously. Rhinos prop Joseph Kangethe's knock was the most significant part of the opening period. Cheetahs started asking questions of the Rhinos but were kept out and as the Rhinos got to have more of the ball, they began to have a sense of fluidity about them, gaining crucial yards. They forced Cheetahs into an infringement. Abuoga slotted home the penalty for a a 3-0 Rhinos lead.
Cheetahs would pin the Rhinos right from the restart, making forays into the defending champions half. They forced the Rhinos into errors, eventually winning a penalty. Scrum half Mike Mugo missed this kick for goal with the scores remaining at 3-0. He would soon miss two more kicks. The Rhinos would soon loose Jeff Ojwach through injury...he was replaced by Leslie Libasia.
When the Rhinos had possession, they moved forward, eventually winning another penalty that Abuoga drilled home from 40 yards for a 6-0 lead, a lead they held to half time.
Cheetahs replaced Mugo with former Kenya international Moses Kola who equally failed to put his trusted boot to use. They would soon rue a stray ball from center Kevin Gisore that was intercepted by nineteen year old center David Ambunya who dashed off, scoring the game's opening try. Mr. Abuoga gleefully converted this try for a 13-0 Rhinos lead.
The match again lapsed into a lull before some good play from the Rhinos found Abuoga in space, he powered his way to the tryline. Anxiety crept in before the TMO delivered the verdict....Abuoga had grounded the ball...a try to the Rhinos...yipeee!
He regretably missed the conversion as his side led 18-0.
Ambunya would soon pounce on a loose ball,using his foot to kick it a few yards clear before landing his second try. Abuoga made no mistake as the Rhinos led 25-0.
It's like this try suddenly brought the Cheetahs to life...playing with their renowned ferocity...battering the Rhinos left, right and center. Their pressure finally paid off when the nippy Charles "Akaranga" Kanyi left Abuoga for dead, touching down in the corner after a great exchange of passes from the Cheetahs. Kola missed this conversion as the game wound down to a 25-5 result in favour of the UAP Rhinos.
Earlier, the Lions led 20-0 at half time,beating the Kampala Coach Victoria side 37-0 to claim third place. Fans observed a minute's silence in memory of fallen Impala, Sharks and Kenya player Joshua Gathumbi whose family was on hand to witness the day's matches and also have his favoured Impala RFC shirt number 25 retired. RIP Joshua...the entire rugby fraternity shall forever remember you...
Kenya's women beat Uganda 8-0 in the earlier scheduled international friendly played at Impala Club.Celestine Navakhayo scored a try with Angie Olum adding a penalty. Coach Sammy Kemmey was particulalry impressed by the performance of his back row and row relishes the Elgon Cup tie pitting the two sides.
Homeboyz RFC claimed the Chairman's Cup with a 23-17 win over Impala RFC.
Abuoga claimed the top points scorers award with 37 points, edging out Cheetahs Innocent Namcos Simiyu who had 35 points heading into this tie. Namcos was joint top try scorer with Rwenzori's Robert Sseguya. They both scored five tries. Rhinos player Sidney Ashioya was man of the series.
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