Depleted Heathens lost the one game they could not afford to when they were beaten by Jinja Hippos 19-0 at the quarter-final stages of the Tooro 7s last weekend.
With the other contenders Black Pirates, slumping to two defeats, being penalized for fielding an unregistered player, and finishing 10th overall after an embarrassing 21-0 defeat to the Buffaloes in the 9th and 10th place final, the Heathens were bound to extend their lead at the top of the National Rugby 7s Championship by stopping their closest opponents, Jinja Hippos, at the quarters.
The Jinja-based side, who seem to be building up a fierce rivalry with the Kyadondo Rugby Club side, instead changed their recent fortunes by beating the hapless Heathens, who were flat-footed and lacked composure throughout the game.
Already playing without key players Micheal Wokorach, Aaron Ofoyrwoth and Norbert Okeny due to recovery from National Team duty, the Heathens were also without more key players in Joachim Chisano, Syrus Wathum and Patrick Okello due to injuries, Daniel Malcolm Okello due to his representation of Hana International t the FEASSA Games, as well as an experienced facilitator, Chris ‘Opa’ Lubanga who suffered a bout of Malaria ahead of the Tooro 7s.
Ivan Claude Otema from National Team duty and Jordan Bongomin from injury returned to the team. Still, they could only see a very disjointed team performance that the Heathens will need to see an end to to return to the top of the standings ahead of the final two circuits.
Up next is the Kyabazinga 7s at Bugembe, with the Heathens set to welcome back the great leadership of captain Micheal Wokorach, the creative ability of Aaron Ofoyrwoth and the dangerous wing presence of Norbert Okeny. It is also expected that at least two of Chisano, Wathum, Okello and ‘Opa’ will return in Bugembe.
With the 2022 National Rugby 7s season set to end at the Buffaloes 7s, the Heathens will need a big performance this weekend to stand any chance of finally returning the 7s title where it once had a home – Kyadondo Rugby Grounds.