Rugby Cranes line-up for the anthems before the Elgon Cup first leg at Legends Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
  • Saturday, May 26
  • Uganda Rugby Cranes vs. Kenya Simbas – 4:00 pm, Legends
[/media-credit] James Odong will be crucial for Rugby Cranes Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

Uganda Rugby Cranes play hosts to Kenya Simbas in the first leg of the 2018 Elgon Cup at Legends Rugby Club on Saturday.

The game is the first for Rugby Cranes on the international calendar and head coach John Duncan is optimistic of a great performance from his charges against Simbas.

We have had great preparations which started late last year. The players are mentally and physically prepared for the task ahead of them and I predict a competitive game as well.

The South African made several changes to the team and atleast three players are expected to make their debut on the National XVs side.

Mongers’ Paul Ssekate and Black Pirates’ Edgar Pajob will start on the front row while Elphaz Emong (Kabras Sugar) will be fielded as the openside flanker and Kobs’ fullback Adrian Kasito starts ahead of regular Philip Wokorach.

Meanwhile, Simbas coach Ian Snook also made several changes to his side and atleast three players will be making their debuts. Patrick Ouko (Homeboyz) and Kabras Sugar’s duo of Joseph Odero and Andrew Chogo will play for the Simbas for the first time having been named in the starting line-up.

Key Players

Simbas’ fly-half Isaac Adimo – who is regarded by many as one of the best in Kenya – will be influential for the visitors. He knows how to get the best out of his teammates, hardly cracks under pressure and his experience will help the team that has multiple of rookies.

Darwin Mukidza – who was Rugby Cranes’ tormentor in chief last year at Legends – will be crucial especially with his boot. He has scored the most points for Kenya; he booted Simbas to a win last year in Kampala.

Oliver Mangeni, Tony Onyango, Martin Owila, Samson Onsomu, Jacob Ojee, Peter Karia, Curtis Lilako and Davies Chenge return from last year’s squad with some experience though Lilako and Owila will start from the bench.

For Rugby Cranes, Black Pirates’ Ivan Magomu and Kabras Sugar’s Iavn Kirabo formed quite a strong partnership last season and they will again pair up just like last year. Their telepathy will be key for the Rugby Cranes.

James Odong who will be deployed on the right wing is expected to steer Uganda’s backline that has Sevens star Adrian Kasito making his debut for the XVs at fullback.

Vice-captain Justin Kimono who is good for a try almost every game will be crucial for the hosts.

Skipper Asuman Mugerwa will key in the front row that has new faces in Paul Ssekate and Edgar Pajob and he is optimistic the preps the team has had are enough to get the job done;

We have had good preparations since last year. So far, we have had two training camps and most recently, we had two friendly matches against a South African Supa-Babas side. These preparations have helped the team gel for the better.

Rugby Cranes Starting XV: 1. Asuman Mugerwa, 2. Paul Ssekate, 3. Edgar Pajob, 4. Robert Aziku, 5. Simon Olet, 6. Briana Asaba, 7. Eliphaz Emong, 8. Marvin Odong, 9. Ivan Kirabo, 10. Ivan Magomu, 11. Justin Kimono, 12. Pius Ogena, 13. Eric Mula, 14. James Odong, 15. Adrian Kasito

Replacements: 16.Nathan Bwambale, 17. Adnan Mutebi, 18.  Saul Kivumbi, 19. Bryon Oketayot, 20. Musa Muwonge, 21. Ian Munyani, 22. Philip Wokorach, 23. Aaron Afoirwoth

Simbas Starting XV: 1. Patrick Ouko, 2. Peter Karia 3. Joseph Odero, 4.Andrew Chogo, 5. Oliver Mangeni, 6. George Nyambua, 7. Elkeans Musonye, 8. Davies Chenge (C), 9. Samson Onsomu, 10. Isaac Adimo, 11. Jacob Ojee, 12. Leo Seje, 13. Peter Kilonzo, 14.Tony Onyango,  15. Darwin Mukidza

Replacements: 16. Philip Ikambili, 17. Oscar Simiyu, 18. Curtis Lilako, 19. Malcolm Onsando, 20. Martin Owila, 21. Xavier Bett, 22. Biko Adema, 23. Vincent Mose

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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