THE national men’s rugby team –the Silverbacks open their CAR15s title defence this afternoon against Burundi’s Intambwe.
After beefing up the team with former Uganda MTN Heathens player Jonan Manzi and Allan Amin Otim, Silverbacks coach Gerard Nsenga can’t want to unleash his players.
“Manzi brings his vast experience in the scrums and rucks while Otim’s pace, hard tackles and game reading are sure to bring in many dividends,” a confident Nsenga said.
New Silverbacks captain Benjamin Makombe is also itching for the tie. The 5”11 all muscle fast runner and hard hitter will settle for nothing but a win.
“We are fired up. We want nothing short of victory. The pack will have to hit hard and retain the ball so that our fast paced backs get clean balls to score,” Makombe said.
Ivan Makmot at scrum half and Lucien Bikamba at fly half are some of the other players Nsenga is counting on.
Makmot’s form is undoubtable after helping Uganda’s leading Club, Kobs, to win the much coveted Uganda Cup trophy sealing the man of the match award in turn. Bikamba was second top scorer in the Inyange national Rugby League after mercurial Vincent Kamali.
Some of the other players:Jean Baptist Itanzi: He is a tight head prop. The Burundi team treats him harshest on the pitch because he trained most of them. They treat him as a ‘villain’ but he has always stood up taller. His experience which dates back from 2003 should be vital for the Silverbacks.
Julien Nshimiyimana: The lanky Lock will be vital in the line outs, scrums and his mobility will be vital in support play.
Joseph Bugabo: After shedding 16kgs since the last tournament, at a solid 100kgs, the leaner number 8 who also doubles as a Lock is sure to cause havoc for any defence in his face.
Olivier Nikwigize: The talented flanker and number 8 is a natural assassin. With his improved fitness levels he is likely to have his name on the score board.
Erick Mbarushimana, Koko Marcel Cambara, Olivier Uwamahoro and Aimé Ndahirwa should operate like a well oiled machine to get the ball to the try line. They have played together for so long, their communication should be telepathic.
The Burundi side boasts strong forwards. Though they were neutralized last year, one cannot rule out a possibility of a totally different and much more improved side. If DRC turns up, the fans will be entertained beyond measure as no one has a clue as to what they are capable of.