A last-ditch try-saving tackle by Warriors coach-player Gabriel Aredo in the last play of the match denied Amos Asiimire, and his team Impis, the cherry on the cake moment of a fifty-point haul against them at Legends Rugby Grounds yesterday evening.

Make no mistake, this match, until a point midway through the second half, had been billed as the 2022 rugby premier league season relegation decider. It was unthinkable, therefore, to suggest that Impis would go on to wipe the floor with Warriors the way they did yesterday for a 43-10 win, their first in fourteen matches played this season.

I stand to be corrected here, but I believe this could be Impis’ biggest win-margin in the top flight in the past decade.

Warriors have only themselves to blame for the sorry performance on the day. Before kickoff, there was only one reserve on the bench – Arajab Kakaire – and he was not a specialist front-row forward. Right after kickoff, Joash Ogwang was shown yellow for a high tackle. Then in the second half, Richard Kinyai and Isaac Tago took turns in the sin bin as their colleagues fought what turned out to be a losing battle.

Impis, on the other hand, were at full strength and their players showed up. Man of the match Henry Nsekuye played the best rugby of his days, slotting four conversions and a drop goal on top of pulling the strings for Impis to score six tries. Bar missing captain Kennedy Muhumuza’s services on the day, the only time Impis were handicapped was during Derrick Beijuka’s ten minutes in the sin bin.

Shafik Wampande

As expected, tirst half was a close contest between the two teams. Impis struck first through speedster Ivan Otai and Daniel Wereba to lead 12-00 just before the half-hour mark. Then Warriors responded through two Richard Kinyai and Emmanuel Duku unconverted tries but Otai’s second try closed the first half at 19-10 in Impis’ favour.

The second half was a one-sided affair as the Warriors’ pack, who eventually played the entire 80 minutes without a single substitute – had emptied their tanks in the first half. Nsekuye got Impis flying with the drop goal about 10 meters in front of the uprights five minutes in. Then Pius Mpoza, Jerome Tasiku touched down before Otai completed his hat trick to top the try scorers’ chart at 15 tries.

Impis had their tails up all day so much that they were doing “impossible” things. On a normal day when the captain would point to the uprights for a penalty shot at goal, the forwards kept calling for a scrummage. Heck, even Edmond Waya and Stallone Arinaitwe appeared to contest for kicking duties from Nsekuye after Otai’s hat trick try. Eventually, Waya won that small contest and beautifully slotted the conversion from the touchline.

Overall, it was a well-deserved bonus-point victory for Impis who had not yet tasted victory this season. The Makerere outfit thus bounce from the bottom of the table into ninth place, four points above Warriors with four matches left to play.

Ernest Akorebirungi is Uganda's top rugby writer and commentator with experience in local tournaments like the national XVs competitions and sevens series. He has also reported at international tournaments...

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