As the Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League remains at a standstill amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, hope is not lost that the season will be completed.
According to a statement released by the Uganda Rugby Union recently, the league was due to resume as early as May 2 but that won’t be possible as the government extended the lockdown to May 5.
With thirteen rounds played and just five pending, we have probably seen enough from the competition to tell the best signings, most improved players, and best players of the season by position or otherwise.
Heathens returnees Joseph Oyet and Scott Oluoch as well as Emmanuel Byamugisha who has excelled in the league leaders’ stuffed forward line, Kobs’ scrum-half Ivan Kirabo and makeshift flanker AlHaji Manano, Pirates’ loose forward Alex Aturinda just to mention will pop up if you scan through the league for the most impressive and consistent performers.
A lot may change if and when the remaining five fixtures are played but most likely not the top three positionings on the log. Heathens are destined to defend the title, Kobs seem comfortable in second place and Pirates have pretty much sealed a top-three finish and have an outside chance of second-place.
It would be interesting to take a look at how things could turn out at the bottom with Makerere Impis, Shell Rimula Rhinos and MRI Rams (if I may add) battling for survival but my focus in this article is players’ performance, precisely the best player of the season.
Coming into the 2019-20 season, it was clear that the international calendar for sevens and fifteens was staked and clubs that contribute majority of the players especially to the sevens national side would be affected.
The national sevens team engagements have seen Pirates miss the services of loose forward Desire Ayera, center Isaac Massa and fly-half William Nkore for majority of the season. Off-season signings Alex Aturinda (Walukuba Barbarians), Michael Amolo (Jinja Hippos) and Stephen Alul (Toyota Buffaloes) walked right into the Sea Robbers team in places of the trio but none has been impressively consistent as Aturinda.
Pirates haven’t been anywhere near as dominant compared to what they were two seasons ago when they swept all the silverware. In fact, Pirates started the league poorly, losing three games in the first six outings, but loose forward Aturinda didn’t let his standards dip.