Jinja Hippos retain 7s title as Buffaloes threaten boycott

Jinja Hippos retained the second Genocide memorial rugby 7s title after holding off Uganda Veterans 7 - 5 at the Red Cross grounds in Kacyiru last weekend.
Jinja Hippos players close in on Lion de Fer winger Ignas Nsanzimana in the semifinals. Jinja went on to win the tourney. (S. Kalimba)
Jinja Hippos players close in on Lion de Fer winger Ignas Nsanzimana in the semifinals. Jinja went on to win the tourney. (S. Kalimba)

Jinja Hippos retained the second Genocide memorial rugby 7s title after holding off Uganda Veterans 7 - 5 at the Red Cross grounds in Kacyiru last weekend.

A try and conversion from Hippos’ Solomon Okia was enough to secure the title for the youthful team in the first half. Former Cranes eighth man Micheal Wandera got a try for the Veterans, which wasn’t converted.

The memorial tournament attracted 10 teams including; local league sides Remera Buffaloes, Kigali Sharks, Muhanga, Kamonyi Pumas, Lion de Fer, Thousand Hills, Rusizi Resilience, and Goma Okapi RFC (DRC), Jinja Hippos (Uganda) and the Uganda Veterans.

From the group stages it was straight to semi-finals in which the Veterans outclassed Lion de Fer 17-7 while Hippos trampled Thousand Hills 19-0 to set up an all-Uganda final.

Meanwhile, it was yet again another year of disappointment for the Remera Buffaloes, who pulled out from last year’s final after the tournament organizers refused some of their players to contest.

Buffaloes were in the same pool as the Veterans and Thousand Hills. Buffaloes’ captain Vincent Kamali complained they had conceded less tries than the Uganda Veterans.

“The Veterans conceded 6 tries and we conceded three, that try difference should be put aside before they tally the points. They wanted to favour the guest team over us, something we found very disappointing,” Kamali explained.

However, Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) president, Alex Araire, who played for the Veterans, explained they had followed the tournament rules to pick the side with the most points. Remera Buffaloes had 81 points; Thousand Hills had 94 while the Uganda Veterans had 96 points.

“We have the rules and they can consult, we can’t consider try difference in a situation where more than two teams are involved. We had to consider points.”

Kamali threatened the club would pull out of Rwanda Rugby Federation organized tournaments if they “continue to favour foreign teams over home ones.”

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