So much of the rugby attention over the last few weeks has been on who of Hima Heathens and Betway Kobs will blink first in the race to the title.
Anything else was secondary, until last Saturday March 16 at the ‘House of Pain’ in Entebbe, the home side, Plascon Mongers pulled off an incredible rugby feat. It was not in beating the Jinja Hippos 24-19 because that was relatively expected, however, Mongers possessed one player, Adrian Wasswa, who scored eight of the nine penalties he took, a novelty in Ugandan rugby.
Robert Seguya, the Rugby Cranes coach who also doubles as Hippos tactician and has been a prominent member of the national team for the larger part of 20 years now, said, “I have never seen anything like what Wasswa pulled off against us last Saturday. To score eight penalties is no mean feat. It is amazing.”
In his hey days, Seguya was a prominent kicker for both club and country, playing as a flanker. But he admitted that he never did anything in his career like what Wasswa did. And he does not remember seeing anyone do it. For that, Wasswa should be celebrated and honoured in one way of the other. While Mongers struggled to break down the Hippos lines to make a try through Wasswa, they expertly found another way out of jail, having gone behind in the game.
Whenever Hippos failed to maintain discipline, being caught offside or having their hands in the rack among other incidents, Wasswa was on hand to make them pay. Wasswa’s execution was sublime and oftentimes, a joy to watch.
He said, “Well, this is the result of hard work in training. Every time I come for training, I attempt at least 200 times. And each time, I am successful in 180 of them. That has enabled me perfect my kicking. In fact, for me, the farther, the better.”
In fact, there have been many of the kind from Wasswa throughout the season, although he has not kept the records to know how many of his kicks have been successful. But what he is sure of, is that he is the best around. And his coach John Wandicho does not think that is far from the truth, because no one else in the league has shown such consistency. Inevitably, that will instigate calls for Wasswa, 32, to be included on the national team. He was summoned before a few years ago, but was never given a run in the team.
But it is clear to understand why that may have happened. Wasswa plays 13 (centre), the number played by Rugby Cranes assistant captain Michael Wokorach. Yet, that is not all. Seguya said that players called to the Rugby Cranes have to tick all boxes.
“One cannot be summoned for tackling alone or kicking alone. Number 13s, for example, engineer play, and in some instances, they become fly halfs and help their teams break up the opponent’s lines, to find tries,” Seguya said.
Mongers failed to score a single try against Hippos last Saturday, which means, that their build up play lacked the cutting edge. That is probably what Wasswa has to work on going forward, to build on his recent feat, otherwise it is rare, that there will be many teams as clumsy as Hippos were.