It is close to three weeks since the curtains fell on the 2012 Bamburi Rugby Super Series, the 10th edition of the tournament that was first held in 2003. We review the tournament, right from the group stages to the championship match.
Group Stage Matches
Match Day One Saturday 5 May 2012
Defending champions UAP Rhinos began their title defense with a comprehensive 46-9 Pool B win over Uganda’s KCB Victoria at the RFUEA Grounds while the SDV Transami Cheetahs edged out Nguvu Sharks 11-7 in a tight Pool A fixture, both matches were played at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds.
Dimension Data Rwenzori survived a scare from the Mumias Sugar Buffaloes, holding out for the 43-31 Pool B win in Kampala while the Lions stopped the Coastal Bulls 45-6 in Mombasa.
Match Day Two Saturday 12 May 2012
This was definitely to be a pivotal point in the tournament, teams would know their fate and with the heavy rains pounding Nairobi forcing a change of venue to the Jamhuri Park, the Lions registered a second Pool A win, beating the Sharks 15-8 while the Cheetahs were 50-10 winners over the Bulls in the other Pool A fixture.
Over in Kampala, Rwenzori succeeded where others had failed, ending the Rhinos 16 match unbeaten run in the tournament stretching back to 2008, beating the defending champions 17-15 while Victoria beat the Buffaloes 17-7 in Mumias to leave Pool B wide open.
Match Day Three Saturday 19 May 2012
The battle of the cats in Pool A was really all about who tops the group and earns a favorable semi final draw. The Lions beat the Cheetahs 24-15 to finish top and stay in Nairobi during the semis while the Cheetahs would be travelling to Kampala. The other Pool A match ended 43-17 to Sharks against the Bulls.
Pool B had its fair share of drama, the Rhinos staring elimination in the face if they fell to the Buffaloes in Nakuru. The champions raced into a 10-0 lead but found themselves trailing 10-18 before rallying to defeat the stubborn Buffaloes 25-18 and book a semi berth against the Lions.
Rwenzori beat counterparts Victoria 19-10 to top the pool, setting up a semi final clash against the Cheetahs.
Match Day Four, Semi Finals ,Saturday 26 May 2012
Defending champions Rhinos went 15-5 up against the Lions, but allowed the 2008 champions back into the game, and they trailed 15-19 with minutes to play before Wilson Kopondo try sealed the win for the Rhinos, who made it to their sixth straight final since 2007.
Rwenzori made history by beating the Cheetahs 25-0 and becoming the first Ugandan side to reach the final.
Match Day Five , Grand Finale, Saturday 2 June 2012
Third place playoff
The third place playoff match saw the SDV Transami Cheetahs rally from 12-18 to register a 22-18 win over the Lions. The Lions went ahead through an unconverted Curtis Lilako try before Tony Nyandigisi leveled for the Cheetahs. Ian Indimuli and Fabian Olando added a try and penalty each before Ronnie Mwenesi scored against his former side, Moses Kola converting to take the scores to 13-12 at half time. Peter Mutai would stretch the Lions lead with a second half try before Mwenesi and Vincent Mose’s tries sealed the win for the Cheetahs.
The UAP Rhinos eventually re-wrote the history books, beating Dimension Data Rwenzori 25-14 to lift their sixth overall Bamburi Rugby Super Series title in an entertaining final played before a capacity crowd at Nairobi’s RFUEA Grounds on Saturday 2 June 2012.
BRSS 2012 Statistics
Bamburi Rugby Super Series
Saturday 2 June 2012
Match Day Five Collated Results and related statistics
Final: UAP Rhinos 25 Dimension Data Rwenzori 14
3rd Place Playoff: SDV Transami Cheetahs 22 Lions 14
Man of the Series: Wilson Kopondo (UAP Rhinos)
Top Points Scorer: Fabian Olando (Lions) 46 points
Top Try Scorer: Wilson Kopondo (UAP Rhinos) 5 tries
Previous BRSS Final Results
2003: Rhinos 27 Cheetahs 11
2004: Cheetahs 32 Lions 22
2005: Buffaloes 27 Lions 26
2006: Cheetahs 29 Lions 27
2007: Rhinos 28 Lions 20
2008: Lions 33 Rhinos 9
2009: Rhinos 30 Buffaloes 13
2010: Rhinos 25 Cheetahs 5
2011: Rhinos 20 Cheetahs 15
2012: Rhinos 25 Rwenzori 14
Lastly, we sign off by paying tribute to former Lions utility back Silas Amunga, “F Baby” or “Janeko” to all those who knew him. He was a member of the Lions squad that won the 2008 Bamburi Rugby Super Series title with a 33-9 win over the Rhinos. He passed away on Sunday 17 June 2012 after a short illness aged 29.
Rest in peace Janeko