A deathly silence covered Kings Park Stadium, Bweyogerere at the sound of the final whistle which sealed Black Pirates’ first-ever 15s rugby match loss to Mulago Rams.
Rams, who had travelled with only a handful of fans, were 15-13 victors over the Sea Robbers at their own home ground, a feat nobody saw coming. The Rams’ roar of celebration moments after the warm down describing perfectly their sheer joy of a job well done.
Black Pirates took an early lead through a penalty, but Rams responded almost immediately with a try scored by Emmanuel Kinyera to make it 05-03.
A well-struck Shakur Ssaka penalty that extended Rams’ lead to 08-03 was quickly followed by yet another of Alex Aturinda’s trademark tries from the scrum. The hosts took a 10-08 into the break.
After the break, the energized visitors touched down from a defensive error in Black Pirates’ area from a deep up-and-under kick. Again, Emmanuel Kinyera was in the right place at the right time to latch onto the ball and dive over for the match-winning try.
This put Rams in the driving seat which they held onto dearly despite the Sea Robbers’ persistent attack.
How did Rams Do It?
Richard Lumu’s charges made use of their kick-and-chase strategy to keep the Black Pirates defending deep in their territory. They were able to score one try off a poorly received kick inside the Pirates try area.
The Makerere-based side also employed a master tactic to gain possession against the Sea Robbers who enjoy being with the ball more. On defense, Rams held the ball carriers up to force a maul instead of completing the tackles.
This worked in two ways; the defense gained possession at the scrum that followed the maul once the ball was unplayable by the attacking team. Also, it slowed down Pirates whose attack can be lethal with a quick ball out to the backline in case they failed to cause a turnover.
Ultimately, Black Pirates could only settle for an agonizing losing bonus point from the match as the Rams cantered away with a 15-13 victory in their own backyard.