By Johnson Were
NAIROBI - Rugby Cranes successfully defended their 14-point margin from the first leg and reclaimed the Elgon Cup which they last won in 2006.
Kenya took the game by the scruff using the advantage of one man less for Uganda after Bishop Onen was sin-binned. They mounted pressure taking charge of territory but the Uganda defence stood firm in the face of the Kenyan onslaught to end the half pointless for either side.
On return, the hosts managed to break down the Uganda defence in the 44th minute with a try by Lawrence Buyachi after a scrum down at the Uganda five yard.
Three minutes later, Tonny Onyango and Eden Agero added a try and conversion respectively to stretch the lead to 12-0. This gave Kenya hope of overturning the 14 point margin but the Cranes made in impossible for them.
Poor kicking was again to haunt Uganda as Anthony Kinene missed three penalties and Jude Keremundu one but these seem to have motivated the Cranes to defend more as they held on for a final score of 12-0.
“Our strategy was to defend the 14 points but also try to add on more that is why we were on the receiving end throughout,” team captain Matthias Ochwo stated after the game.
Former Elgon Cup winning captains Peter Magona and Herbert Wafula both coaching assistants to national tactician Yayiro Kasasa attributed the win to the belief the boys had.
“Our kicking was bad and we gave away possession thus loss of territory but the boys had belief that they can win back the title and they did,” Magona stated.
Kenyan coach Michael ‘Tank’ Otieno, honorably conceded defeat, “We dominated the game, took charge of territory but the boys failed to execute. Uganda deserved it because they put up a defence I have never witnessed them apply before.”
Meanwhile, Kenya women roared to a 15-3 win over Uganda in the second leg at Impala Rugby Club to retain the women’s version of the Elgon Cup on a 21-18 aggregate.
The Uganda teams were sponsored by Vision Group, Nile Special, Queens Coach, Dimension Data and UAP Insurance.
Rugby Cranes lift Elgon Cup despite defeat in Kenya