Uganda leave it late against Kenya Simbas to win Victoria Cup

Kenya Simbas captain George Nyambua and Uganda's Ali Bhika. Photo/Uganda Rugby Union
Kenya Simbas captain George Nyambua and Uganda's Ivan Magomu. Photo/Uganda Rugby Union

The Uganda Cranes claimed the 2023 Victoria Cup Championship with a narrow 21-20 victory over the Kenya Simbas in the decisive match held at Kings Park Arena on Saturday.

This historic win marked Uganda’s first-ever Victoria Cup title and provides them with a slight advantage as they approach the return leg of the Elgon Cup scheduled for Kisumu next weekend.

Uganda trail early on

Kenya initially took the lead with a try following a ruck, but Jone Kubu missed the conversion attempt.

Action between Uganda Cranes and Zambia. Photo/Uganda Rugby

Action between Uganda Cranes and Zambia. Photo/Uganda Rugby

After the try, Uganda’s restart failed to reach beyond the 10-meter line, granting the Simbas a scrum at the centre of the pitch. Off the scrum, a swift interchange of passes between Barry Robinson and Brian Wahinya allowed Jone Kubu to break free and deliver a pass to Joel Inzuga for the second try, which Kubu successfully converted, resulting in a 12-0 lead for Kenya.

The match seemed to be heading in Kenya’s favour, but they conceded consecutive penalties that Ivan Magomu capitalized on, reducing the score to 12-6.


Errors began to creep into the game once again, and Magomu’s kick fell short. However, Kenya’s Wahinya made a mistake, handing Uganda a scrum. Although Kenya didn’t concede from the scrum, they did give up a penalty. A quick tap led to Conrad Wanyama crossing over for a try, which was converted, putting Uganda ahead 13-12.

Kenya’s struggles persisted as they conceded another penalty, but Magomu failed to convert from a promising angle.

In the second half, Simbas regained the lead when Kubu made a successful penalty kick while Uganda’s Magomu missed a kick that could have restored their lead.

Paul Mutsami was yellow-carded for a tackle made while he was offside, but Magomu’s kick went wide once again.

Kenya Simbas captain George Nyambua and Uganda's Ivan Magomu and Zambia's captain Photo/Uganda Rugby Union

Kenya Simbas captain George Nyambua and Uganda’s Ivan Magomu and Zambia’s captain Photo/Uganda Rugby Union

Uganda then scored their second try after a right-side break on a counter-attack following Kubu’s kick. Timothy Kisiga gained ground and offloaded to Magomu, who released Joseph Oyet for a try in the right corner.

Kenya quickly responded, with Wahinya releasing Inzuga, whose powerful carry allowed him to dive over for a try. Unfortunately for Kenya, Kubu missed the conversion, giving them a slim lead.

Liam Walker, who came off the bench, sealed the victory with a last-minute penalty kick, resulting in a 21-20 win for Uganda.

15. Jone Kubu, 14. Joel Inzuga, 13. Bryceson Adaka, 12. Walter Okoth, 11. Alfred Orege, 10. Brian Wahinya, 9. Barry Young, 1. Ephraim Oduor, 2. Teddy Akala,3. Wilhite Mususi, 4. Hibrahim Ayoo, 5. Hillary Odhiambo, 6. George Nyambua (Captain), 7. Reinhard Mwalati, 8. Jeanson Misoga 

REPLACEMENTS 16. Emmanuel Otieno, 17. Thomas Okidia, 18. Hillary Mwanjilwa, 19. Brian Ndirangu, 20. Peter Waitere, 21. Elkeans Musonye, 22. Dan Ang’wech, 23. Paul Mutsami



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