How Kobs will line up against league defending champions Heathens

Justin Kimono will partner Joseph Aredo in the Kobs' midfield /COURTESY PICTURE

RUGBY How Kobs will line up against league defending champions Heathens

Ndyamuhaki J Emanzi 11:32 - 31.03.2023

Manano scored the team's bonus-point try against Rhinos last weekend and will be filling Ogena's big shoes in the back row.

The biggest miss for Kobs heading into the derby with bitter rivals Heathens on Saturday is eighth-man Pius Ogena.

The team's top try scorer is one of three Kobs players expected to miss the game after flying out as part of East Africa RFC for the Hong Kong 10s tournament.

Faragi Odugo and Jude Jjuuko are the other two Kobs players set to miss the Lions Cup action.

But regardless of who suits up for either side, clashes between Heathens and Kobs have always been highly-anticipated, and this will be no different.

Head coach Brian Makalama has named a strong side to hunt for Kobs' first win against Heathens at Kyadondo in nearly a decade.

Odugo and Jjuuko have been the Kobs hookers for the season, but with the two missing the game, youngster Trevor Maina will take charge and joins a front row that features the experienced duo of Collins Kimbowa and Saul Kivumbi.

Trevor Maina will play as hooker in the absence of Faragi Odugo and Jude Jjuko /COURTESY PICTURE

Former Heathens lock Michael Otto and team captain Emmanuel Ecodu are the two called on for the challenge in the second row.

It is an unchanged back row for Kobs. The game against the Rhinos last weekend must have been used to prepare a back row that features no Pius Ogena.

Derrick Tukwasibwe, Byron Oketayot and Alhajji Manano have all retained their places at six, seven and eight.

Manano scored the team's bonus-point try against Rhinos last weekend and will be filling the big shoes of Ogena.

Ogena is the top try scorer in the league with 16 tries, and in his absence, Kobs will need to spread the scoring burden across the whole team.

Robert Masendi and James Ijongat are the two starting half-backs selected by Makalama. Joseph Aredo, who played the fly-half role most of the first round, will play in the midfield at 13 alongside Justin Kimono (12).

There is a return of Lawrence Wakabi to the team. The winger, who returned to active rugby in the clash with Jinja Hippos, will add pace and experience to the Kobs' backline.

He played a big part in the team's winning try against the Pirates in the first round and will be looking for another big performance when he comes up against the defending champions.

Daudi Semwami will patrol the other wing while Josiah Sempeke completes the line-up at fullback.

The experience of Davis Kyewalabye might be required later on in the game. The scrum half will be one of the options on the bench alongside Robert Aziku, Aaron Jurua and Conrad Mukwaya.

Kobs are top of the Nile Special Rugby Premier League with 55 points from 12 games and will be hoping to maintain their status after the clash with Heathens.

With Heathens taking the first-round game 17-15, they lead the chase for the Lions Cup and will be out to ensure it stays at Kyadondo after the 80 minutes.

Kobs line-up

Saul Kivumbi, Trevor Maina, Collins Kimbowa, Michael Otto, Emmanuel Ecodu, Derrick Tukwasibwe, Byron Oketayot, Alhajji Manano, Robert Masendi, James Ijongat, Daudi Semwami, Justin Kimono, Joseph Aredo, Lawrence Wakabi, Josiah Sempeke.


Felix Kyewalabye, Wilobo Mukili, Blair Ayebazibwe, Robert Aziku, Aaron Jurua, Davis Kyewalabye, Mark Osuna, Conrad Mukwaya.