By Monday evening, March 11, Joseph Aredo, the Betway Kobs full-back was still at pains, coming to terms with what had befallen them on Friday March 8, when the Stanbic Pirates ran over them 30-14.
Right on the tail of that result, was Hima Heathens’ 74-03 walloping of the Walukuba Barbarians on Saturday March 9 at Kyadondo Rugby Club. This saw the leadership in the Nile Special Rugby Premiership, which Kobs had going into last weekend’s fixtures on 68 points, shift to the Heathens, now on 71 points.
This has raised questions about how Kobs imploded, and are unlikely to get back to the top. Aredo, who, a month earlier had been the man of the match, when Kobs beat Heathens 26-21 through his three penalties (nine points) and two conversions (four points), did not impact the game against Pirates as much as he would have wanted.
Aredo only scored four points from two conversions, just not enough to maintain the two points lead Kobs had over Heathens. Aredo is yet to put a finger on what went wrong. It has been suggested that Kobs failed to contend with the pressure. While Pirates were free spirit since there was nothing at stake for them, the reverse was true for Kobs.
“To a certain extent I agree, that we let pressure get to us. But I also think our calls (decision-making) was poor,” Aredo said.
That said, Kevin Makmot, the coach of DusuPay Warriors pointed out how Pirates got Kobs on the back-foot early, by pressing them into their own half. As the action concentrated there, Kobs struggled to counter-attack. Instead, the speed at which Pirates played, which included quick flow of the ball, the four tries were inevitable. Pirates just tore through Kobs’ defence.
Bobby Musinguzi, the Pirates coach said; “Our purpose was to stress their defence, so that they lost structure. And since we had the ball most of the time, we ran at them. With their broken structure, we found space to score.”
Collin Kimbowa, Kobs’ prop not only conceded how disorganized they were, seeing the several knock-ons and lost possession, Kobs failed to get any rhythm, a fact that makes it near impossible to dislodge Heathens, to equal their thirteen championships.
With the experience in Kobs’ ranks, a better display in the title run-in was expected. And to cede the advantage to Heathens was out of character. Heathens are left with two easy opponents, the Rams and Warriors from whom they are expected to get maximum points.
This would see Heathens finish on 81 points while Kobs can only amass a maximum of 78 points. That haunts Aredo, yet not anymore than the memes he confessed to seeing in his sleep since the Friday defeat. You wonder whether those memes come in form of the one-eyed Pirates!