Rugby

Kobs, Heathens title credentials under scrutiny

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Recuperating Phillip Wokorach of Heathens has been attending

Recuperating Phillip Wokorach of Heathens has been attending practice sessions at Kyadondo and could play a little cameo off the bench if need arises. Photo by Eddie Chicco 

By ISMAIL DHAKABA KIGONGO

Posted  Saturday, December 7   2013 at  02:00
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KAMPALA- MTN Heathens and DMark Kobs are always involved in the most memorable and important games Uganda rugby can offer.

Year on year, the two most successful sides either play in Nile Special Super 8 Rugby League title decider or the winner of their tie, often the final, wins the Uganda Cup.

Turning point
Just six weeks into the 2013/14 season, the two clash at Legends Club. Though not the most significant tie they have been involved in, mistakes committed here could hurt over the eight games that follow.

It’s the norm that the winner may set the tone for the rest of the season. “We want to win every game and every trophy,” Heathens’ centre Michael Wokorach declared.
It’s been quite a year for Wokorach as he has had to step up as captain for both Uganda and Heathens due to a lengthy injury layoff to hooker Alex Mubiru.
His band – the backs – have played some amazing rugby thus far with fly-half Jasper Ochen and fullback Benon Kiiza the main orchestras.

Now, the next challenge for coach Brian Tabaruka is to get his forwards to take charge of games as they seek to knock Kobs’ off their perch. During last week’s 25-22 win over Toyota Buffaloes, in which they failed to garner a bonus point, Heathens committed too many infringements at the breakdown and got away with it.

Oluoch factor
With Kobs’ loose forward Scot Oluoch facing the side he left barely two months ago and prop Brian Odong attacking the Heathens’ line, they could find themselves on the back foot again.

Coach Fred Mudoola has remolded this team as genuine contenders for a first league title since 2008 to rise to the summit with 25 points, one better than Heathens. They can ill-afford to lose further ground.

Key battle
Chris Lubanga and Ochen are totally different players and Heathens often know how to rotate them for games. Lubanga is basic and never does too much. Ochen is flashy and an entertainer.

Whoever they choose, Kobs remain uncertain here having recently settled for James Injogat. This wil be a litmus test for him.

DUELS
Front rows: Tabaruka might choose to restore Asuman Mugerwa to the front row after two games as eighth man. Here, his contest with Brian Odong will be key to owning the pack.

Oluoch key: Scot Oluoch is the best ball carrier in this league and seeing him go up against Heathens’ Arthur Mukama and Mathias Ochwo from the back of the scrum will define this game.

Wings: In Justin Kimono, Kobs have Uganda’s best wing and the defence of Allan Otim and Jonathan Onen will try to keep him quiet.

Kiiza vs Aredo: The two fullbacks should provide the impetus for the occasional counter attack with Kiiza also the first choice kicker for Heathens.

TODAY’s FIXTURES

Kobs vs. Heathens
4:30PM, LEGENDS
Buffaloes vs. Rhino
4:30PM, KYADONDO
Mongers vs. Lira Bulls
4PM, ENTEBBE

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