Nile Rapids rugby club emerged as the champions of the 2023 Women’s Uganda Cup, breaking the traditional dominance of senior women’s clubs and etching their name into the annals of rugby history.
Founded in 2022 and affiliated with the Jinja Hippos rugby club, Nile Rapids trains at Dam Waters Rugby Ground in Jinja.
The club, which shares a physiotherapist with Hippos, boasts a young roster with players averaging 16 years old from PMM Girls and Jinja SS.
The coaching staff, hailing from Hippos rugby club players, guided the Rapids through their inaugural appearance in the 15s version of the game, following their participation in the Jinja-based Kyabazinga 7s tournaments in 2022 and 2023.
Placed in Group A alongside Kabale Berg Princesses rugby club, Gulu Sprinters rugby club, and Avengers Rugby club, Nile Rapids showcased their prowess.
They kicked off their campaign with an 81-0 victory against Kabale Berg Princesses and followed up with a 61-15 win over Gulu Sprinters on their home turf.
Despite a 38-6 loss to Avengers in the last group stage game, the Rapids secured a spot in the finals by defeating Black Pearls rugby club 27-26.
Facing off against Avengers rugby club in the finals at Kings Park Arena, the young Nile Rapids demonstrated their mettle.
Trailing 17-16 at halftime, they orchestrated a comeback, securing a 25-17 victory and clinching the championship.
Akello Tina, instrumental in Nile Rapids’ success, scored all twenty-five points, leading her team to victory and toppling the defending champions.
Akello Christine from Avengers finished as the top try-scorer, adding a layer of individual excellence to an intense final.
In the men’s edition, the Kyadondo-based Heathens Rugby club defended the Uganda cup by defeating the Makerere-based Lifeguard Rams 57-22.
Youngster Malcom Okello from Heathens was named MVP of the Uganda Cup 2023 in the men’s category, while his teammate Vani Adebua claimed the top try-scorer accolade, capping off an exhilarating tournament.