Rugby fans new to the sport within the past five years witnessed a weekend of firsts at the Wakiso Sevens. The first time Kobs and Heathens did not play in the Cup Semifinals, the first time Impis played in the Cup Final, and Rams their Makerere tenants completed the podium.
This promises to be a season of many firsts. The Wakiso Sevens, hosted at King’s Park in Bweyogerere, was the first of seven circuits in this year’s National Rugby Sevens Series.
However, what the new fans have seen before is Black Pirates winning a Sevens circuit. In the Cup Final, the home team beat Impis, 15-00, to throw down the gauntlet and dare their title challengers.
In my preview for the knockout round, I predicted an early exit for title favourites, Kobs, given how they had performed in the pool stage on day one.
The defending champions ended up finishing in eighth place to register their lowest finish in any series in aeons. In a similar script for Heathens, the record champions were two places above them.
Also, this week, I held the belief that Jinja Hippos, who have finished fourth in the past two seasons in both Sevens and XVs, would be best placed in terms of motive and resources to upset the status quo.
But that didn’t happen as they lost to Impis, 10-05, in the Cup Quarterfinal. They had to settle for fifth place after a morale-boosting 15-00 victory over Heathens.
Instead, onto the big stage, stepped up new challengers in Impis, Rams, and Buffaloes.
Impis matched all the way to the Cup Final, winning 4/6 matches over the two days’ action. Rams were too strong for Buffaloes in the bronze medal match but the latter will be proud of their youngster Aaron Tukei who was named MVP for an outstanding performance.
The next circuit will be a one-day event hosted on August 13 at Busambaga in Entebbe. It was moved from Mbale in the Eastern Region due to the natural disaster that struck the region after torrential rains late last week.