Finally, the much anticipated Elgon Cup match in Kisumu had its curtains come down. Touted as the most competitive African Rugby match rivalry, Elgon Cup had its own surprises today.
Named after Mount Elgon that majestically sits at the boundaries of Kenya and Uganda, one would have the perception that this match is actually played in a venue closer to this revered mountain. But not!
Historically, Elgon Cup has been played in two of East Africa’s vibrant cities: Nairobi and Kampala, but this time, the match’s first leg was held in a different city in Kenya, the city of Kisumu.
It had been a long time coming, with the local rugby club Kisumu RFC doing a bid to host the match this year, way back in 2016, and successfully their bid went through to be given the rights to host the match and run it, of course with the supervision of Kenya Rugby Football Union and the Elgon Cup management committee.
This to us has been a very successful precedence set by Kisumu, and as it stands, any other city or town in Kenya and Uganda can now benchmark against Kisumu to host future Elgon Cup matches.
Kenya’s Lionesses Wins Over Uganda’s Lady Rugby Cranes
But to today’s events, the first order of matches was between Kenya Lionesses against their Uganda counterparts Uganda Rugby Cranes ladies side at exactly 1.30pm.
Elgon Cup is part of the preparation for Africa 15s aside Women Cup set for August in South Africa where the winner will qualify for 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The 15 aside contest was Kenya’s for the taking from the very beginning. Grace Adhiambo, captain Phila Olando, Celestine Masinde, Janet Okello, Sophia Ayietta and Stella Wafula went all out for Kenya Lionesses in the eight-try win and two conversions.
Charlotte Mudoola went for Uganda who had two tries and a penalty in the heavy thrashing the Ugandan side received of 42-13 at the final whistle.
The men’s game kicked off at 4pm, and saw the Ugandan side dominate the scoreboard as at halftime whistle, with 11 points against Kenya Simbas 3. Kenya side had lots of opportunities that they kept losing, which would have earned them close to 15 points tops, coach Patrick Ouko told us in the post match analysis.
In the second half, there were not many points from the Uganda side, apart from just one try, but the Simbas managed two more tries giving them 13 points in total against Uganda’s 16. This was a very slim lead that the Ugandans scrammed today, and puts them in a very tight position as the second leg approaches to be held next month July 13th in Kampala. Kenya has promised to retain the cup, at all costs and will go to Uganda to make sure that the cup remains in Kenya, despite fielding a very young team of about 9/15 under 20s in the Kisumu leg.
The last time @Uganda_Rugby beat @KenyaSimbas was June 15th 2013 in Nairobi winning 17-16.
The Uganda coach said that his boys were mentally prepared, because they knew that Kenya is no mean pushover when it comes to rugby. He promises that the second leg next month will see Uganda lift up the cup, once again, and be declared the Elgon Cup men champs.
The ladies cup made a comeback after a long break in the past editions of the Elgon Cup matches.
Looking forward to the second leg of both matches in Kampala, July 13th.