Credit: Kawowo Sports | AISHA NAKATO

Jinja Hippos are a side that enjoys a certain mystery in the league outside the eye of the media and Kampala circus. They have risen steadily to become a mainstay in the midtable, and last season with Uganda Rugby Cranes coach Seguya, they finished 6th behind Buffaloes and Mongers.

Is this upward shift going to continue in the return-to-rugby this year?

Key signing: The most conspicuous of them all is Eliphaz Emong. The bulky forward joins from Homeboyz across the border in Kenya.

Eliphaz Emong

Jinja Hippos have also added prop James Okello from Rhinos and Kelly David Akengo from Kabras. In addition, they have promoted six lads from their development side Kiira Crocs.

Departures: Jinja Hippos have retained their entire playing squad from last season.

Unique strength: The impact of Uganda Rugby Cranes head coach Robert Seguya at Jinja Hippos will be felt even more this season, especially as the club get into his robust style of play.

What they say: On the new signings, head coach Seguya thinks the new players are going to add experience and leadership to the team. He feels the group is ready to rub shoulders with the big boys. “Last year we settled in the middle of the table but I think now we are better to rub shoulders with the top three,” he said.

What I think: Jinja Hippos appear to be more organised and strategic in their signings, beefing up the squad where they lacked in the pack and keeping the back line intact. This may not be enough to challenge for the title, but it should be able to result in a much higher position on the table.

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

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