By Johnson Were
Added 24th June 2019 06:12 PM
Rugby Cranes of Uganda beat the Simbas of Kenya in the first leg of the men's Elgon Cup. This duel was played out at Mamboleo Showgrounds in Kisumu, western Uganda.
Here is how the Cranes lined up against the hosts. The visitors are eyeing a 10th title of the competition in 22 meetings - and they knew victory in Kisumu would draw them closer to that title.
The Kenyan fans came out in full voice to rally behind their side.
But the visitors were not short of support either. Their fans crossed the border to will their side on in what promised to be a mouthwatering encounter.
Once the bulls locked horns, it was game on. The Cranes had last beaten the Simbas on their turf in 2013, so their thirst to quench that long spell had reached its peak.
Eventually, the visitors pulled off that elusive victory, seeing out the Kenyans 16-13 to move closer to the title. But Cranes coach Robert Sseguya has voiced his sentiments: It is not yet a done deal.
“I am proud of the boys. They put their bodies on the line for their nation and we had an important win that will motivate these young boys in the return leg. I am really proud of them,” said Coach Sseguya.
The return leg will be played at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds on July 13.
Great wars always leave casualties and indeed the Saturday game left Sseguya’s men bruised. The medical team will have to work harder to see that they patch the boys up in time for that all-important tie.
Meanwhile, there was also a ladies affair of the competition. This is how the She Cranes lined up against the Kenya Lionessess.
The duel was also to unfurl at the same venue: Mamboleo Showgrounds.
The women's dimension to the competition was making a comeback after going silent since 2015 because of logistical obstacles. It was the curtain raiser for the men's action.
Eventually, the hosts proved too good for Uganda, beating them 42-13.
The Rugby Cranes had not beaten Kenya's Simbas on their turf since 2013. They now have a first-leg advantage thanks to a 16-13 victory in Kisumu.
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