Scott Oluoch

The 2022 Nile Special Rugby Premier League season rolls on this Saturday with the second round of fixtures being played across Kampala and Jinja cities.

I have pored over the first round statistics sheet from the Uganda Rugby Union secretariat, and here is a bit of what I found therein.

There are two extremes at the top and bottom of the table; while leaders Heathens are still undefeated in nine matches played, Impis are yet to win their first match this season.

Heathens are not just leading the table at the halfway point. The record championship-winning outfit have scored the highest number of points and conceded the least amount in a performance that has put them firmly in the driving seat.

First round’s top try scorers

Scott Oluoch is the top scorer with 10 tries to his name thus far, with teammates Joseph Oyet and Michael Wokorach following closely with seven apiece.

In general, a haul of 198 tries has been scored in the 45 matches played but only 48% of these have been successfully converted which underlines all the teams’ kicking woes this season.

Top kickers from the first round

Off the boot, Buffaloes’ Liam Walker whose campaign started in the third round leads the kickers’ statistics with four conversions and sixteen penalties. Nelson Mandela’s two conversions and fifteen penalties have been instrumental in lifting Rams out of the relegation scrap into eighth place, with the Makerere team having risen as far up as sixth at some point.

It would have painted a clearer picture knowing the total penalty kicks attempted but from the conversion rate, one can easily conclude that it is the same story with the penalty attempts.

A total of 104 penalties was successfully kicked through the uprights which signifies that the infringement count may have been higher in this first round. So I took a look at the yellow card distribution, which is the only dataset available to investigate the teams’ discipline.

Yellow card distribution in the first round

Heathens have been the most disciplined team with just one yellow card shown to Joseph Oyet against Kobs on the second matchday. Buffaloes, Rams and Impis have faced the wrath of the match officials most with their players being sent to the sin bin nine teams each, with some repeat offenders in the case of bottom-placed Impis.

I think the second round will be quite a similar display to the first with the top teams speeding away from the rest but I expect improved efficiency and discipline from all teams as we enter the business end of things.

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

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