There is everything to play for as the national men’s rugby 15s team, Simbas clashes with Uganda in the Elgon Cup return leg at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala today.
The first leg played in Kisumu last month saw the Ugandans earn a shock 16-13 win, their first victory over Kenya in six years, a result that left Simbas in a precarious situation ahead of today’s tie.
If their last meeting is anything to go by, then Kenya and Uganda are evenly poised and whoever outwits the other tactically will carry the day.
The Kampala tie will be the 33rd meeting between the sides since they first faced off in 1958. Kenya boast of a superior head to head record having managed 21 wins while Uganda have been victorious 10 times. One match, played in Nairobi in 2017, ended in a draw.
Perhaps in a bid to overturn the three-point deficit and clinch the Elgon Cup for a fifth successive year, Simbas have recalled some of their big guns who missed the first leg.
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Among those who have made a comeback is Kenya Sevens captain Jacob Ojee. The KCB winger, who was recently feted by the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya for his outstanding performance in May, is set to make his first appearance for the 15s team since last year.
Ojee’s KCB teammate Andrew Amonde has also been introduced at the back row and the experienced loose forward is expected to stabilise the team that was shaky in the reverse fixture.
Kenya are without five players who featured in the first leg since they are in Brazil with the national under-20 team which is competing in the World Rugby under-20 Trophy.
The five absentees are Homeboyz forward Emmanuel Silungi, Nakuru RFC’s John Okoth, Dominic Coulson, Jeff Mutuku and Geoffrey Okwach of KCB.
Uganda coach Robert Sseguya has made his intentions clear by naming his strongest possible team with Kenyan-based utility back Philip Wokorach, who plays for Kabras Sugar, making a return. Also back in the Cranes squad is fly-half Ivan Magomu.
Adrian Kasito and Santos Senteza, who scored Uganda’s two tries in the first leg, are also expected to play a part in the encounter. The match, scheduled to kick off at 4:30 pm, will be officiated by South African referee Stuart Berry.