Yet to skip the semifinal hurdle for the past two years already, the two Ugandan franchise sides set to feature in the regional Bamburi Rugby Super Series are hopeful that winning the first game could set the tone.
Victoria and Rwenzori, both in pool B, open their accounts against two Kenyan teams in Buffaloes and Cheetahs respectively this Saturday. In what seems a balanced pool, Victoria head coach Brian Makalama thinks no side have the edge.
"I think this is a very fair and balanced group. There are no favourites," said Makalama. His first opponents are only one of two Kenyan sides without a title since the annual event was initiated eight years ago but the former Rugby Cranes prop won't write them off. "Our work now is focusing on getting our own combinations right and winning the first game."
Forwards Dan Canowira (school) and Timothy Dumba (knee injury) plus wing Allan Musoke are definitely out with the latter opting for basketball. Victoria still looks the stronger side on paper with most of the Rugby Cranes regulars, including last year's skipper Mathias Ochwo and MVP Jude Keremundu. "Playing in this series also gives some of us chance to salvage some silverware this season," Kobs' star Steven Ogwete, whose club is yet to win anything, hinted.
On the other hand, Rwenzori, who are handled by coach Sam Ahamya and have many development players from Uganda A, don't carry many people's expectations. That will, however, do little to dampen Ahamya's hunger of reaching a second successive Bamburi Rugby Super Series semifinal.