This weekend’s Nile Special 7s circuit at Fort Portal Tourism City is very crucial for the top three sides with the series now entering halfway stage. This will be the fourth of the seven legs of the season but there’s still a lot to play for. The event will take place on Saturday, 29th and Sunday, 30th at Buhinga Stadium.
After three circuits, it seems like the series is a three-horse race with Stanbic Black Pirates, Kobs and Platinum Credit Heathens setting the pace for the rest of the sides with 61 points, 55 points and 54 points respectively. Defending champions Jinja Hippos are fourth with 41 points, 20 points off the summit.
The top three sides on the table have also produced top try scorers so far. Pirates’ Arnold Atukunda leads the way with 19 tries to his name, Kobs’ Pius Ogena has 16 tries while Heathens’ Norbert Okeny has 14 tries. Mark Osuna (Kobs), Aaron Tukei (Toyota Buffaloes) and Alex Aturinda all have 13 tries after three outings.
The top three sides currently have their players on song and with the series entering a crucial phase, the Fort Portal event is very vital for all the teams especially those currently on the podium.
After winning the opening two circuits in Jinja and Kitgum, Pirates looked unstoppable as they led the series by eight points (44 points) ahead of Kobs. Had Pirates won the Rujumba 7s they hosted last weekend, they would have posted a double-digit lead, however they only managed a third-place finish with Heathens winning the circuit at Kings Park Arena in Bweyogerere after beating Kobs in the final and at the end of the weekend, only seven points were separating the top three teams blowing the title race wide open.
The top three sides head to Fort Portal careful not to slip as every point could bridge or widen the gap between the leaders and the chasers of the series.
The Africa Men’s Sevens scheduled for 16-17 September in Harare, Zimbabwe is around the corner meaning some players will be called to prepare for the continental meet which also doubles as an Olympic qualifier. The top three teams will be the most hit sides as some of their best players will be called for national duty hence they will need to utilize their services when they’re still around.
A total of 22 teams will compete in the Nile Special 7s fourth circuit hosted by Tooro Lions in Fort Portal. 16 men’s teams are pooled into four groups of four as it’s always been while six women’s teams are pooled into two groups of three.
Log leaders Pirates are in men’s Pool C alongside two top tier sides Buffaloes and Walukuba Barbarians. Invited side Buddu Bears are in the same group.
Pool B has the hosts Tooro Lions plus Kobs, Rams and Mustangs while Pool A has Heathens, Rhinos, Impis and Kigezi Silverbacks. Plascon Mongers, Jinja Hippos, Warriors and Mbarara Titans are in Pool D.
In the women’s division, red-hot Black Pearls are in Pool A alongside Nile Rapidz and Buddu Cuppaz. Pool B has Avengers, Thunderbirds and Kisoro Jaguars.
After the Fort Portal event, the series will take a one-weekend break before action heads to Kampala for the Kyadondo 7s slated for Saturday, 12th and Sunday, 13th August at Kyadondo Rugby Club. The next weekend the series will head to Tororo (19th and 20th August) and the finale will happen on 2nd and 3rd September in Jinja.