Onen unveils new signing Michael Amolo from Black Pirates Credit: Jinja Hippos Rugby Club

The 2021 season was Jinja Hippos Rugby Club’s most successful in their history so far. A fourth-place finish both in the XV premier league steered by now dearly departed head coach Robert Seguya and in the Sevens series inspired by a blend of youth and experience were the result of over four years’ work. But it was also their most trying yet.

“After recording our best ever season in 2021, it has been a testing period for Hippos. We tragically lost our head coach Soggy and also our captain and on-field leader Maxwell Ebonga to a long-term knee injury,” club chairman Jonan Manzi said.

Now, going into a fresh 2022 season, with bittersweet memories from last year unforgotten, Hippos intend to maintain this upward momentum and continue inching closer to the top three clubs in the country.

David Wako handed captain duties

Jinja Hippos captain David Wako, head coach Charles Onen Credit: Jinja Hippos Rugby Club

The club has named a new captain in David Wako who, to my utmost delight, was the only prop that played the Sevens Series. Wako replaces Ebonga who is out for about a year but the two are formed from the same mould of a player who leads from the front.

Promotions from within and signings from outside

From within their Kiira Crocs development setup, Hippos have promoted young backs Elvis Opira and Owen Mugogo to the senior squad.

Three players have joined Hippos in this transfer window. Prop Yusuf Waisswa from Walukuba Barbarians across town and a Black Pirates duo of loose-forward Isaac Rujumba and utility back Michael Amollo.

Hippos believe the players they have added to their roster will help to build on a promising 2021 campaign.

“The guys we’ve brought in are exciting players who will contribute to our challenge on the top 3 while continuing the tradition of adventurous rugby from Jinja Hippos,” Manzi said.

Jinja Hippos begin their 2022 campaign with an away tie against Black Pirates on Saturday in the Nile Special Rugby Premier League.

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

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