KOBs, Pirates set for a title-deciding showdown

Saturday, May 13
•KOBs Vs Pirates – Legends, 4pm
•Rams Vs Heathens – Makerere
•Mongers Vs Rhinos – Entebbe
•Buffaloes Vs Impis – Kyadondo
•Hippos Vs Walukuba – Dam Waters

As the 2023 Nile Special rugby league season draws to a close, all focus is now on the game between KOBs and Pirates, which will determine the league winner.

Termed by many as a “winner-takes-it-all encounter”, it undoubtedly promises to be a captivating and exciting finale to the 2023 Nile Special rugby season as the winner will be crowned league champions.

Both teams have had a remarkable season, amassing an impressive 75 points each. However, it’s KOBs who lead the table on scored points difference, with 523 compared to Pirates’ 335.

The first leg of this fixture, a closely contested encounter, saw KOBs emerge victorious, with a 30-25 win at Kings Park.

Speaking ahead of the finale at the end of the league press conference held on Friday 12th May, 2023, Pirates captain, Isaac Massa revealed that in the first round encounter, his team lost focus before the final whistle, which cost them the game. He expressed confidence that his team would maintain their focus throughout the game, and not make the same mistake again.

“The game at home was a painful loss, it was down to focus and we didn’t keep our focus till the final whistle as we thought we had the game in hand but we lost it in the last minute. I believe right now there’s no room for such errors, we are going to keep focused until the final whistle is blown.”

Pirates will therefore be looking to avenge their earlier defeat to KOBs in the first round and secure their first league title since 2016, and their second overall.

KOBs on the other hand, having failed to manage a league double against Pirates since 2014, will be searching for one, also securing their 15th league title.

“We are ready both physically and mentally, we have given it time and we know what is at stake. We are lucky we don’t have major injuries that we should be worried about, also our sevens colleagues are back so I don’t think we should have any excuse of being short of the trophy” said KOBs’ Mark Ossuna.

Ossuna believes they have been a better side this season because they were able to land a better coach with experience in coaching and their impressive player build-up process.

“We have gotten a better coach (Brian Makalama) who has experience in coaching, and the team has had a good player-buildup as the young players have stepped up. We have also not had major injuries amongst the players” he said.


Coming into this matchup, because of KOBs overwhelming number of league trophies compared to Pirates’ one, most have proceeded to dub the Sea Robbers as underdogs in this game.

Isaac Massa sees it as a motivation for the team. He believes that his team has what it takes to write their own history and make their mark in the league.

“Being considered the underdogs is only a motivation for us. We cannot erase the fact that these teams have better history and are more established than us but we can only look forward to changes being made in the future, we will have to write our own history and we can only to do that by winning the trophy”

Pirates have managed to win 16 games and lost just one this far, after being handed a defeat by KOBs who have lost two in the same period (both to Heathens).

KOBs will pride in having secured the highest bonus points (15) which give them an edge over their final opponents who have just eleven.

While the hosts have lost a game in the second round, Pirates have not lost a single game in the second half of the season.

Player availability

Will the return of players who had been off with the national sevens team have an impact?

Probably a question everyone will be looking to have an answer to after the game is played.

Both Massa and Ossuna confessed there was a significant gap left by the said players in their absence. But it did not affect the structures of play for either team.

With their return, both teams will surely have full force coming into the game. KOBs will be with speedstar Adrian Kasito and Ian Munyani.

Pirates will also be with Alex Aturinda who in his return game against Walukuba scored two tries. Timothy Kisiga and Desire Ayera will also be available for this finale.

Hopefully, the said players will be instrumental in leading their teams to lifting the trophy.

Possible outcomes

A lot is a stake coming into this challenge.
For KOBs’ eighth man Pius Ogena, he has himself a chance to set a new record for most tries scored in a single league season having levelled the existing record of 22 tries by teammate Justin Kimono and retired KOBs player, Allan Musoke.

KOBs as a team stand a chance to secure a rare league double against Pirates, having failed at all occasions since the 2014 league campaign.

Pirates are unbeaten in all their away games this season, a record they will be focused at retaining though KOBs will also be aiming at ending it.

The top scorer bragging rights are also up for grabs. Pirates’ captain Ivan Magomu currently tops the chart with 136 points followed by KOBs’ Joseph Aredo with 119.

The showdown will kick off at 4pm at Legends and it most definitely is a match not to be missed, with everything on the line for both teams.



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