Ivan Mwesigwa Credit: John Batanudde

Result: Warriors 10-18 Rhinos

The first of six Legends derbies in the 2022 Nile Special Rugby Premier League was between Warriors and Rhinos in the late kickoff on Matchday One. Both teams were in control of the derby at alternating intervals but it is the latter who bagged the all-important win and while at it, denied the former a losing point.

Warriors, the home team on the day, were quick off the blocks five minutes after kickoff under the scorching Kampala heat. Coach-player Gabriel Aredo scored a center post try having run a smart support line for Henry Musisi to find him after a quick tap penalty.

The away team then evoked their pack strength to gain control of the match. After about fifteen minutes of back and forth action, eighthman Jeremy Thembo found the whitewash off a strong scrummage five meters away. A further ten minutes later, fullback Gabriel Kwebiiha scored the try that put Rhinos in the driving seat but kicker Ivan Kirabo missed both conversions.

First half ended 10-07 in Rhinos’ favour as the Warriors, who seemed to still be in it, left points on the pitch due to reliable kicker having to take drop goals as the kicking tee was nowhere to be found.

Their chances diminished even further when Aredo retired at half-time due to an ankle injury. He hurt himself towards the end of the first half as he ran chasing a kick for territory.

Davis Shimwa Credit: John Batanudde

And then enter the Rhinos youngster midfield combination of Kevin Nazo and Davis Shimwa. The pair kept Warriors’ experienced Isaac Tago and Richard Kinyai on their toes throughout the second half, with quick ball transfer from one end of the pitch to the other running at full pace.

To that effect, Shimwa was on hand to provide Billy Ocen with an assist as the Warriors defense was stretched out after a failed quick restart on a 22 metre dropout by Kinyai.

Kinyai struck a penalty in the 58th minute for Warriors’ only points in the second half as they scavenged for a losing bonus point but Kirabo would deny them that luxury with one of his own in the 66th minute.

Match ended 18-10 in favour of Rhinos who now lie fourth on the log.

Martial Tchumkam’s lads may have been the surprise Rhinos package – unlike the traditionally exceptional pack strength – during the Legends derby on the opening weekend but now the rest of the league is aware of the threat they possess.

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

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