Karim Arinaitwe and Kelvin Balagadde

Each second of rugby played during the 2021 Guinness Sevens Series thus far has been highly entertaining to watch. Ten core teams, and thirteen others invited from the regions, have put up amazing displays of skill and physical ability on the countrywide tour in the North, East, West, and Central regions.

But it is Kobs and Black Pirates that have shone brightest in the five circuits so far played. Going into the series finale, the two can barely be separated as the battle for the title intensifies more than ever.

Let’s do some permutations and mathematics to paint a picture of how close the two teams are at this point.

As the 2021 Guinness Sevens Series stands currently

Kobs, who won the first three circuits; Mileke, Gulu, and Soroti; lead the series with 102 points, three ahead of Black Pirates, who won the next two; Henry Rujumba and Kigezi; with 99 points.

Mathematically, and realistically, only the two can win the series this year. Going by recent form where both teams have reached every Main Cup Semifinal thus far, Black Pirates and Kobs will still finish ahead of Heathens even if Heathens wins the Main Cup Final. But the Kyadondo-based club can play the significant role of party poopers by knocking one of the two rivals out of contention.

Black Pirates, who have had the best defense in the series, currently have a more superior points difference than Kobs, who have had the best attack in the series.

Kobs have been more efficient in collecting all points available through their kickers, which is why they have more points scored than Pirates despite both teams having scored the same number of tries (143).

The two have scored an average of 28.6 tries every circuit and conceded only 4 while at it. But Pirates have had the better defence overall, conceding fewer tries in harder zones to convert.

By and large, Kobs and Pirates have by far been the benchmark for quality and consistency on the series, and it is evident in these simple statistics and match footage reviewed.

So, what do Kobs and Pirates need to win the 2021 Guinness Sevens Series?

First things first, Kobs will be crowned 2021 champions if they win the Coronation Sevens. Secondly, and most importantly, they must finish above Black Pirates at the end of the event to achieve the same result.

Black Pirates, on the other hand, need nothing short of a third circuit victory to level matters with leaders Kobs if Kobs do not reach the Main Cup Final. But if Kobs lose the Main Cup final, both teams will be tied on points (121) which will send the series down the dreaded path of calculators.

Article 1.2.2 of the sevens tournament manual outlines the criteria of resolution in series rankings following this tie:

  • (i) In the event of two or more Teams being equal on points for any position on the Series table, the Team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all the Series Matches shall be the higher ranked;
  • (ii) In the event of (i) above not providing a decision, the Team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its Series Matches shall be the higher ranked;
  • (iii) In the event of (ii) above not providing a decision, the position on the Series table will be considered equal (i.e., a tie)

Therefore, every try and point scored by Kobs and Black Pirates will be important as the teams eye the Coronation Sevens Main Cup Final, and ultimately, the 2021 Guinness Sevens Series title.

The series finale, which was postponed by a week due to the twin suicide bomb attacks in the capital Kampala, will now be played on November 27-28 at Legends Rugby Grounds.

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