NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- Defending champions UAP Rhinos and Ugandan franchise Dimension Data Rwenzori booked their semi final slots in the 10th Bamburi Rugby Super Series in contrasting fashion over the weekend.
Rhinos travelled to Nakuru Athletics Club to face Mumias Sugar Buffaloes and survived a scare before sealing their place in the last four in a match they raced to an early 10-0 lead with Eden Agero’s penalty and a converted Dennis Muhanji try.
The Buffaloes gored their way back to the tie with a couple of George Oduor penalties and two quick tries by Cyrus Kuya as well as man of the match Bram Shikanda where Oduor landed a conversion in one saw them take an 18-10 lead.
Rhinos reduced the deficit to three points with Wilson K’Opondo making his first try of the game to leave matters at 18-15 in favour of the Buffaloes at the breather.
K’ Opondo would get his second of the game in the second half as the Rhinos retook the lead 20-18 before Victor Sudi sealed the match and earned his side the bonus point with the fourth try for a final score of 25-18 to the champions.
The other Pool B clash at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala witnessed Rwenzori top KCB Victoria 19-10 to clinch top spot in the table in a game where the sides went to the break all-square at 3-3.
Wet conditions at the ground contributed to the cagey encounter but in the end, Rwenzori celebrated their second successive semis appearance.
In Pool A beaten finalists, SDV Transami Cheetahs and 2008 Nguvu Lions who had already secured their passage to the semis played out for the added shine of being group winners at Nairobi’s Jamhuri Park.
At the end of the feisty encounter, the Lions did enough to claw the Cheetahs 24-15 where national sevens team ace, Collins Injera went over for the game’s first try after the teams traded penalties.
Vincent Mose brought the sides’ level when he went over for the Cheetahs and rose to successfully convert but the boot of Fabian Olando that scored three penalties and a conversion saw the Lions take a 16-10 lead to half-time.
The second half kicked off in similar fashion to the first, with the Lions dominating the play and scoring early via another Olando penalty to take the scores to 19-10 before Dennis Mwanja’s second try took the tally to 24-10 in favour of the Lions but Mose’s second try ensured nervy moments but the game eventually ended 24-15.
The other Pool A match-up saw the Nguvu Sharks earn the consolation of finishing third in the pool after hammering Coastal Bulls 43-17 in the early kick off at the same venue.
Collated Match Day 3 Results:
Nguvu Sharks 43-17 Coastal Bulls
SDV Transami Cheetahs 15-24 Lions
UAP Rhinos 25-18 Mumias Sugar Buffaloes
Dimension Data Rwenzori 19-10 KCB Victoria.
BRSS Semi Final Pairings
Lions vs UAP Rhinos (Nairobi)
Dimension Data Rwenzori vs SDV Transami Cheetahs (Kampala)