Heathens celebrate their success in Entebbe Credit: John Batanudde

Until Saturday evening yesterday, only one player on pitch during the Entebbe Sevens Cup final had won a Sevens circuit with and/or for Heathens. That’s veteran Chris ‘Opa’ Lubanga, who continues to pass the test of longevity in Ugandan rugby with flying colours.

The other players who knew what it felt to win a Uganda Sevens circuit before then include captains Nicholas Kato and Paul Epillo with Buffaloes, and Cyrus Wathum with Kobs. One can also include the coaching trio of Mohammed Athio, Kevin Makmot and Allan Otim to this list.

For the new generation of Heathens players, winning a Cup final is a fresh feeling.

And they experienced it after beating Jinja Hippos, 12-10, in a nailbiting match played at the Namate Grounds in Entebbe City.

Tawfik Bagalana opened the scoring for Jinja Hippos with the only try of the first half, ending 05-00. After the break, Heathens responded with two tries by Joaquim Chisano and Trevor Ochan to lead 12-05 towards the final whistle.

Speedster Denis Etwau’s try brought Hippos back in the game but his conversion attempt sailed wide, giving Heathens the victory on the next play after the restart.

Joaquim Chisano Credit: John Batanudde

Chisano was the recipient of the Most Valuable Player’s award. The power forward was Heathens’ wrecking ball for teams whose defence had refused to crack.

Leaders Pirates sail off course

Stanbic Pirates’ campaign for a second cup victory suffered an early hitch when they survived a walkover loss against Boks by the skin of their teeth. The team, who had travelled in different groups, both arrived late in Entebbe but the first was on the ground just in time before kickoff of their first game. They snatched a 05-00 victory from the jaws of defeat but from that point onwards, they were playing catch-up to the other teams who had been better prepared on the day.

Kobs and Rhinos were not as fortunate though as they handed walkovers to Toyota Buffaloes and Rams respectively. And in similar style, their respective tournaments dealt a huge blow.

Current standings

With thirty-seven points, Pirates maintain their three-point gap on top of the overall standings but Heathens’ maximum haul of points from Entebbe elevates them into second place.

Jinja Hippos, who are also due for a Cup Final victory, climb into joint-third place with Buffaloes. The top five is completed by Impis.

RankTeam NameWakiso 7sArua 7sOverall Points
1Stanbic Pirates221537
3Toyota Buffaloes151732
3Jinja Hippos131932
10Walukuba Barbarians7815
11Plascon Mongers5510

The Nile Special Rugby Sevens Series will take a week off before hitting the road over four hundred kilometres to Arua City in the West Nile for Arua Sevens.

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

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