Innocent Kimathi (second left) Credit: Kenya Rugby Referees Association/Scrummage

*Editor’s note: We erroneously reported the match official allocations for the rugby premier league fixtures on matchday 15. It was originally indicated that Emmanuel Marete would manage Black Pirates vs Heathens and Innocent Kimathi for Rhinos vs Kobs.

Marete managed Buffaloes vs Warriors while Nobert Bonyi, also from Kenya, managed Rhinos vs Kobs.

Corrections have been made in this article. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Kenya Rugby Referee Association (KRRA) has sent two of their match officials westwards to Uganda to manage two matches during the fifteenth round of the Uganda Rugby Premier League.

This was on request from their counterparts Kampala Association of Rugby Referees (KARR) and Uganda Rugby Union on a weekend when there is a crucial meeting between two title protagonists.

The top-of-the-table clash pitting leaders Heathens against Stanbic Black Pirates will be managed by Raymond Kisekka. This will be the first time in three seasons that this fixture will be managed by an official not Saudah Adiru and/or Ronald Wutimber, who will be his assistant referees on the day.

Nobert Bonyi will take charge of Rhinos vs Kobs at Legends Rugby Grounds. Bonyi will be assisted by fellow rising match officials from Uganda, Umar Balikkanda and Timothy Tumwesigye.

This is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, time Uganda and Kenya are exchanging referees for their local competitions. During the 2021 national sevens series, Duncan Kioko and Noreen Liyosi officiated at the third circuit in Soroti City.

There has been recurrent negative feedback from players, coaches, and fans on how the referees manage rugby matches in the country, citing inconsistency, low concern for player safety, and, in some cases, apparent bias towards different teams.

Although rugby fraternities from both unions always show their displeasure with how matches are managed, the introduction of officials from a different union eliminates, especially, this apparent bias but also exposes the players to referees from a different system which is what they will experience at international test level.

Here are the full match official allocations for matchday 15:

King’s Park, Bweyogerere: Black Pirates vs Heathens

  • Center Referee: Raymond Kisekka*
  • Assistant Referees: Saudah Adiru and Ronald Wutimber
  • Match Commissar: Robert Bwali

Legends Rugby Grounds: Rhinos vs Kobs

  • Center Referee: Nobert Bonyi*
  • Assistant Referees: Umar Balikkanda and Timothy Tumwesigye
  • Match Commissar: Julius Nkuraija

Kyadondo Rugby Club: Buffaloes vs Warriors

  • Center Referee: Emmanuel Marete*
  • Assistant Referees: Racheal Kakaire and Ivan Arinaitwe
  • Match Commissar: Dorothy Nekesa

Busambaga, Entebbe: Mongers vs Impis

  • Center Referee: Rosenberg Kanyunyuzi*
  • Assistant Referees: Emmanuel Olupot and Tonny Torach
  • Match Commissar: Aziz Mpora

DamWaters Rugby Club: Jinja Hippos vs Rams

  • Center Referee: Gonzaga Mayanja
  • Assistant Referees: James Byaruhanga and Bashir Bakel
  • Match Commissar: Phionah Nakatete

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

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