By Thomas Odongo
Kenya and Uganda have a long history of rugby matches going back even before the first official match in 1958.
The first official match between Uganda (Rugby Cranes) and Kenya (Kenya Simbas) took place in 1958, when Kenya (then Kenya Colony) hit the road just to play a rugby game against Uganda (then Uganda Protectorate) in Kampala. Kenya beat Uganda by three goals and two tries to one goal, one penalty goal and one try. In 1958, a try was worth three points, so the final score was 11 – 21.
However, prior to the formation of the Rugby Football Union of Kenya (RFUK) in 1921 and the Uganda Rugby Football Union (URFU) in 1955, these two territories put out representative sides though, without a governing union.
Having engaged in rugby for so long, the two sides came up with the idea of an annual tournament and decided to call it 'The Elgon Cup.'
The Elgon Cup then became a double-legged rugby union tournament between Kenya and Uganda's 15-a-side rugby teams that is played annually on home and away basis ever since it debuted in 2014.
The name ''Elgon Cup'' is derived from Mount Elgon, a mountain that rests on the border of these two countries.
Kenya has won the last two competitions with Uganda last claiming glory in 2015.
Meanwhile, there is a new wave of players in the Rugby Cranes right from the leadership ranks to the squad that has been named for the 2018 first round of the Elgon Cup slated for this Saturday, 26th May 2018 at Legends Rugby Club.
There are five debutants bound to start with other tow debutants starting from the bench.
Eliphaz Emong, Edgar Pajob, Paul Sekate, Adrian Kasito and Simon Olet will all feature for the team for the first time while the duo of Ian Munyani and Nathan Bwambale will start from the bench.
However, Kenya Simbas last year retained the Elgon Cup after sharing spoils (33-33) with Uganda Rugby Cranes in Kenya culminating into a 56-51 score aggregate following their 23-18 win at Legends during the first round.
Rugby Cranes Team
1. Adnan Mutebi 2. Asuman Mugerwa (C) 3. Brian Asaba 4. Byron Oketayot 5. Edgar Pajob 6. Eliphaz Emong 7. Marvin Odong 8. Musa Muwonge 9. Nathan Bwambale 10. Paul Sekatte 11. Robert Aziku 12. Saul Kivumbi 13. Simon Olet 14. Aaron Ofoirwoth 15. Adrian Kasito 16. Eric Mula 17. Ian Munyani 18. Ivan Kirabo 19. Ivan Magomu 20. James Odongo 21. Justin Kimono (VC) 22. Phillip Wokorach 23. Pius Ogena