Mark Osuna grounds | Credit: John Batanudde

Defending champions Kobs Rugby Club began their 2022 Nile Special Premier League campaign with a scrappy bonus point home win against Impis RFC on Saturday.

While Kobs would certainly have done better in the match, there were moments in the match where they put together some awesome plays.

My favourite, on a list that had Joseph Aredo’s try and Henry Nsekuye’s intercept from that match, is the second of Mark Osuna’s tries. What a stunning finish Osuna pulled off in the corner!

Rugby is a team sport, and this try is a true manifestation of this fact. All the fifteen players wearing blue contributed to the sequence of play that led to Kobs’ last try in the match.

Let’s take a closer look at it.

In the final ten minutes, Kobs find themselves with ball in possession for a scrummage ten metres away from the try area at the fifteen-metre line. Flyhalf Josiah Ssempeke communicates with his scrumhalf Brian Ochan who transfers information to eighthman Derrick Tukwasiibwe that the backs want to play the ball.

Before setting the scrum, Tukwasiibwe can be seen protesting the call, and indeed, he keeps the ball at his feet for about a metre as his pack advances forward.

But Ochan picks the perfect moment to send the ball out to Ssempeke when the Impis defence are tracking backwards. Ssempeke shuffles it out even faster to Alhajji Manano – one of the most skilled rugby players in the country – at first center.

Manano plays a dummy switch with Ian Munyani at second center before popping the ball to winger Karim Arinaitwe running the loop. This does not fully achieve the intended objective of holding the now-drifting defense which forces Arinaitwe to innovate quickly.

Also, full-back Joseph Aredo notices the swiftly reducing space on the outside channel and halts his run, so Arinaitwe throws a long pass out wide for Mark Osuna to do what he can on a 1v1 situation against Stephan Kalezi.

Kalezi had left the door wide open for Osuna to beat him on the outside shoulder, and Osuna took the opportunity, breaking free from an ankle tackle while at it. The young winger’s work was not yet done as seconds later, he had run out of room to beat the second man. So he dived, making sure to stay in-field, and stretched, with a defender attempting to push him into touch, to ground the ball just inside the in-goal area.

The try wasn’t made by just the highlight reel finish. It was the halfback pair’s call before the scrummage, the pack’s shove in the said setpiece, and the backs’ innovation to realise gains from the attempted training ground move. In simple terms, a well-worked team try.

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

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