Thousand Hills lift rugby league title

Thousand Hills rugby club put their title credentials on show with a resounding 49-0 victory over debutants Resilience RFC in the final of this year's national championship on Saturday.
Thousand Hills RFC celebrate in a group photo after defeating Resilience to win the national championship. / A. Nadia Tasha
Thousand Hills RFC celebrate in a group photo after defeating Resilience to win the national championship. / A. Nadia Tasha

Saturday: Final

Thousand Hills 49-0 Resilience

 

Thousand Hills rugby club put their title credentials on show with a resounding 49-0 victory over debutants Resilience RFC in the final of this year’s national championship on Saturday.

 

In a game watched by a few rugby fans at Gatenga Youth Centre ground in Kicukiro, Thousand Hills hammered Rusizi-based Resilience to lift the title at the second attempt after dominating the full 80 minutes of the game with 6 tries and 4 conversions.

 

The victors dominated the first half with a comprehensive 26-0 lead and wasted no time by going ahead to stretch the lead adding another 23 unanswered points in the second half.

Juma Adams Mugabo, head coach of the Hills, used a combination of strong forward play and tactical kicking in the opening exchanges to keep Resilience pinned deep in their half. 

“I am really happy the boys nailed it, the pressure was on for the full minutes nonstop, I am very happy I don’t know how to express it. It’s the first time that we are champions of the league, Buffalo have won it for more than 7 years, we really wanted this trophy,” Mugabo told Times Sport in a post-match interview.

He further noted that, “This is a step up in the right direction for the team, now we are looking forward to our next challenge, which will be to defend the title next season. To win it this season is very good for the boys in terms of confidence- building and to work as a team to achieve such a triumph.”

It was an agonizing day for Rusizi coach/player Donatien Ufitimfura as his side failed to reproduce the sort of form that saw them dominate the Southern League as well as their semi-final playoff against Lion de Fer. 

And afterwards, Ufitimfura admitted, “Lack of experience is the reason we lost the final; we failed to pass the ball the way we normally do.”

“Many of our players still need a lot to learn both technically and physically. The opponents were far too good and deserved the title but we are happy to have reached this level in only our first season,” he added.

Besides the trophy, Thousand Hills walked away with Rwf100,000 in prize money.

Semi-final story

In their semi-final clash against the more experienced Lions, Resilience showed that fitness can beat skill and experience as they won 29-15 to set up a final clash against Thousand Hills.

Resilience captain Ufitimfura grabbed a brace and winger Joel Makwani a hat-trick with Samuel Nizeyimana and Samuel Nirere managing a conversion for the Rusizi-based outfit.

Despite more polished skills, Lion de Fer managed just a first-half penalty through Olivier Uwamahoro, a late Victorien Umuhire try and conversion, and another from GodGives Niyonzima.

After the game Ufitimfura said, “We prepared very well for this match and skill-wise, we weren’t going to lose to Lion de Fer, we have dreamt about this since we joined the league.”

However, he admitted that they needed to improve play at the rucks for the final against Thousand Hills, who demolished Kamonyi Pumas 32-10 in the other semi-final.

Kamonyi Pumas proved why no team should be taken lightly as the visitors showed intent by scoring the first point through a penalty by Emmanuel Hatangimana, who later added a try and conversion but had a poor day missing four penalties.

Chris Sibomana crossed over for the Thousand Hills, a controversial try that killed the visitors’ morale.

The hosts added more tries through Didier Kamanzi, Fils Fidel Irumva and Jean d’Amour Nsegimana, Diego Dusenge (2), who scored the only conversion Mugabo’s team.

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