Buffaloes make final charge for second
Posted Friday, March 8 2013 at 02:00
Buffaloes (23 points) can finish above Kobs (24) if they beat Pirates at Kyadondo ground today.
It wasn’t meant to end like this. Or was it? When the format of the Nile Special Super 8 Rugby League was changed at the start of this season, it was aimed at creating more thrills.
The old round-robin format, used between 2006 and 2012, was discarded with only the top four teams after seven games going into a knock-out phase to decide a champion.
The thrills have been few. Rhino’s 15-10 victory over G4S Pirates condemned the latter to fourth place and a semi-final match-up with top seeded MTN Heathens.
Likewise, in beating DMark Kobs 22-18 last Saturday, Toyota Buffaloes gave themselves a shot at finishing second. The two will meet again in the semis. Buffaloes (23 points) can finish above Kobs (24) if they beat Pirates at Kyadondo ground today and Kobs fail to get a positive result against Heathens (29) tomorrow.
“It’s important to finish strongly,” Buffaloes’ skipper Alfred Bijik, scorer of the decisive try against Kobs last Saturday, said.
While Buffaloes cannot fall lower than third, Pirates, currently fourth on 16 points, cannot rise any higher than fourth. Following a slow start to the season, Pirates have found their mojo. Despite losing 5-3 to Kobs and 24-16 to Heathens in the last two rounds, Pirates have put in their best shifts thus far.
“I think everything is sorted so our challenge is to keep our heads high,” Pirates’ coach Brian Makalama, said, disregarding the loss to Heathens. Unlike Buffaloes, for whom wing Philip Pariyo has had surgeon’s precision, Pirates’ kicking remains a major worry.
Anthony Kinene and Joel Anguyo squandered six penalties and two conversions last Saturday. In Marvin Odongo, man of the match in the defeat, they have a gem in the back row who will worry Buffaloes.