NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31- Three-time Bamburi Rugby Super Series (BRSS) champions UAP Rhinos are charged to go for a fourth straight crown when they face history making Ugandan franchise Rwenzori on Saturday in Nairobi.
Rhinos coach, Eric Situma is confident his side will gore the challengers who are the first side from their country to reach the 15s franchise competition at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds.
“For us it will basically be a platform to accomplish our objective which was to defend the title. We appreciate that victory for us will take us to new heights in the history of the tournament with a sixth title, which will attest why we are always the team to beat,” he affirmed.
Dimension Data Rwenzori saw off the SDV Transami Cheetahs 25-0 in the semis at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala last weekend as the Rhinos made it to their sixth final in a row after edging out compatriots Nguvu Lions 20-19 in a tightly contested tie at RFUEA.
“We had a scare in that tense semi since Lions came out fighting hard as we continued to make several costly errors that nearly saw us lose out.
“This time we have to make sure we get it right, minimize the errors and ensure we control possession right from the start,” he added.
The final of the 10th edition of the tournament will be replay of their Pool B meeting in Kampala where Rwenzori emerged 17-15 winners.
“We are wary of their threat since teams in the Ugandan franchise have grown over the years especially with their possession but it will be our chance to make amends for the group loss.
“Despite the fact that they will want to register another first in the series by lifting the title, we will still be going into the final as the underdogs and will play patient rugby through territorial play in the right quarter and taking our chances,” he revealed.
The champions are certainly the most successful side in the tournament history, having played in seven previous finals and lifting the title five times.
They have defended the title three years in a row since 2009 when they edged out 2005 winners Buffaloes 30- 13. The repeated the same feat the following year with a 25-5 win over Cheetahs but had to fight hard for their 20-15 triumph in sudden death deep into extra time in the 2011 final.
“My players have worked very hard not withstanding the challenges of the distance between our clubs in the franchise and unavailability due to national team commitments, a triumph on Saturday will be a well deserved reward for all their efforts,” the Nakuru RFC coach said in his parting shot.
The third place play-off will be another encounter for the Lions and Cheetahs who met previously in their pool where Lions won by a 24-15 score line.