Romano Ogwal
  • Friday, February 7, 2020
  • 8:00 pm: Heathens RFC vs Buffaloes RFC

Floodlights rugby is still in its infant stage in Uganda, and for the second time since the Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League kicked off, Kyadondo Rugby Grounds will be the center of the show.

Heathens take on Buffaloes in the first leg of the no-nonsense Kyadondo derby that pits friends and family against each other.

Buffaloes have since the club’s inception been referred to as Kyadondo’s second side with the Heathens enjoying “first-born-child privileges” largely due to a shiny trophy cabinet. But in the recent past, Buffaloes have attempted to break this status quo by pulling off massive upsets against their elders.

Case in point, in the 2016-17 premier league season, Heathens’ title hopes were all but ended after falling to Buffaloes by an agonizingly close 23-18 margin. With that victory, Buffaloes had successfully completed a season double over Heathens.

Buffaloes players celebrate after beating Heathens in the first round of the 2016/17 season. They completed a double over their rivals in the second round. Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

It is every Kyadondo rugby player’s dream to graduate through the ranks and feature for Heathens in their playing career. A number have lived that dream including former Buffaloes captain and now current Heathens captain Charles Uhuru.

Charles Uhuru for Heathens

That said, it is that hierarchy at Kyadondo Rugby Club that leads to a fierce yet entertaining derby when the two outfits meet in the Premier League.

Heathens are still unbeaten at this stage and are currently top of the log chasing an unprecedented title defense. Buffaloes recovered from a poor start in the opening matches and have since gone on a five-game winning streak.

For Buffaloes to upset the pecking order at Kyadondo, flyhalf Donald Oketayot will need to be on top of his game against the quality Heathens defense. His positional awareness and kicking on the day will be important in keeping Heathens outside his own territory which will provide his charges an opportunity to attack.

Heathens, on the other hand, operate like a well-oiled machine and the pack’s patient phase play has been characteristic of how they unlock even the toughest of defenses.

The derby under the floodlights promises to be a clash to clear the air about who is the boss at Kyadondo.

Team Line-ups:

Ernest Akorebirungi is an amateur rugby player and a keen follower of local Ugandan rugby.

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