Hima Heathens open their Nile Special Stout Rugby Premiership defence against rivals Betway Kobs under unfamiliar circumstances at Kyadondo this evening.
Apart from the game being played for the first time in the night, it is also the first time the two have clashed on the opening weekend of the 26-year-old competition.
It’s a gamble both sides and Uganda Rugby Union (URU) have agreed to buy but the clubs must know that they have to hit the ground running for a fruitful campaign.
The two sides had exchanged league titles since 1997 until Stanbic Pirates got one in 2018 before Heathens added another last year. With odds favouring the pair ahead of the rest of the pack, whoever gets one over the other tonight will enjoy the driving seat for now.
Heathens captain Michael Wokorach who sat out sick as Kobs edged his side 15-14 in the Uganda Cup final two weeks ago is adamant and beaming with confidence ahead of tonight’s meeting.
“At Heathens, we are built to defend titles. There is a time we won five titles on the bounce. We are also after this one and it can only be if we beat our competitors,” said Wokorach.
Kobs who last won the league in 2016 are one up in the Lions Cup and expect a hard game tonight with no injury scares.
“The boys are up for it. Everyone knows it has never been an easy game but we are up for it,” Kobs captain Joseph Aredo told media during the league launch yesterday at Kyadondo.
Nile Special tonic
During the event, URU and Nile Special unveiled a Shs670m sponsorship package, the biggest the two have ever come up with for the league.
The growth also spells new gains like the prize money which has increased from last year’s Shs22m to Shs40.5m.
There is also Shs8m put aside for the special category prizes like top try scorer, top points scorer and MVP among others. This season will also see Shs100m given to clubs under a performance based criteria put in place by URU.
Nile Special Stout Premiership
TODAY AT KYADONDO RFC
Heathens vs. Kobs, 8pm
ROLL OF HONOURS
Winners Since 2006