Contenders in the fray to chase MTN Heathens
Posted Saturday, January 26 2013 at 02:09
Rugby. There is no need to guess on who the hunted will be this term after Kyadondo-based Heathens picked up their fourth consecutive league title last year
The preparations to challenge MTN Heathens’ stranglehold on Uganda rugby haven’t been ideal as the closure of Legends impeded preparations by the opposition.
Not until this week did last year’s runners-up DMark Kobs get the chance to practice with a ball at the former Kampala ground. They have had to settle for roadwork.
“It’s not the ideal,” Kobs’ coach Fred Mudoola said. His team host Impis in their Nile Special Super 8 league opener at Legends.
G4S Pirates, now a former tenant, travel to Entebbe to face Sadolin Mongers hoping that the return of forward Moses Soita from mini-retirement will help the younger players.
Kobs and Pirates, the two sides expected to slow Heathens to a fifth successive crown.
Kobs too have Timothy Mudoola ready to lead the backline again after injuries and work kept him away for most of the past two seasons.
Both pursuers have had so many false dawns in recent years, the biggest of them being Kobs winning the Nile Special Uganda Cup thrice in as many years.
Their skipper Brian Odong will miss the start of the season nursing an injury with Mark Kyagaba taking his place on the front row along with Paul Barigye and Oscar Echulu.
Odong will remind his teammates what this season is about. “We must win the league again, it’s the trophy that matters most,” he said after Kobs 14-13 win to lift the Uganda Cup last year.
With Impis comprising players from Makerere University which only reopens today, Kobs should have enough in the tank to win with a bonus point.
Besides Soita, Pirates also have hooker Deo Tumuhairwe and scrum half Philip Karumuna returning after absences due to education overseas to join coach Brian Makalama.
The new league where only the top four teams can compete for the title in a knockout contest later this season makes it important to win as many as possible from the seven fixtures.
Heathens, Kobs and Pirates should make the top three like ahs been the norm which makes a three-horse race for the final slot. Those include Toyota Buffaloes, Mongers and Rhino.
Buffaloes host Rhino in the first slice of that duel as they start life after losing talisman Philip Wokorach to Heathens.