In 2019, Rhinos Rugby Club were relegated from the Sevens series at the end of a disastrous five-year spell during which they fell from cloud nine to rock bottom. The following year, thanks to an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, they survived relegation from the XVs league after a boardroom decision.

It is now 2022. Warriors Rugby Club were relegated from the XVs league (unless the boardroom throws them a bone to stay in the top flight) and they are currently in a three-way relegation scrap in the sevens series.

The other two teams are Mongers and Walukuba Barbarians who are playing their first season in the top flight since replacing Sailors.

Only one point separates Mongers and Warriors (tied at 58 points) from Walukuba (57 points) at the bottom of the series standings.

And that’s where the biggest contest in this weekend’s Buffaloes Sevens is going to be. It is, indeed, the finale of what has been a twisting 2022 series.

Pools for Buffaloes Sevens circuit (invitational team*):

  • Pool A: Jinja Hippos, Warriors, Rhinos*, Jaguars*.
  • Pool B: Kobs, Walukuba Barbarians, Buffaloes, Stallions*.
  • Pool C: Heathens, Impis, Rams, Rams II*.
  • Pool D: Pirates, Mongers, Sailors*, Boks*.

None of Warriors, Walukuba, and Mongers was drawn in an “easy” pool but it will be tougher for Walukuba in whose Pool B, there are two other core sides; Kobs and hosts Buffaloes.

However, Warriors have Rhinos – who just won the national series core status qualifier unbeaten – in their pool A. In pool D, Mongers will face Sailors who beat them during the Rujumba Sevens.

Should any of the three relegation-threatened teams finish Day One at Kyadondo Rugby Club tomorrow outside the top two in their respective pools, their fate will have been sealed there and then.

Battle for 2022 series title

While the real battle for the Nile Special Rugby Sevens Series 2022 title will be on day two, the opening day will set the mood for it.

How protagonists Jinja Hippos and Heathens fare in their pools will make or break their campaign on the last mile. The objective, as a bare minimum for both teams, should be to top their pools comfortably and with no injuries.

Ernest Akorebirungi joined Kawowo Sports in July 2019 after one year as a student volunteer at the Makerere University Games Union. In his role as rugby correspondent, he offers unique insight and analysis...

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