It will be a thrilling renewed rivalry between two former champions when the 2019 national rugby league season starts on Saturday.
Thousand Hills, who pulled out of the league mid-last season, and archrivals Remera Buffaloes will square up in the league opener at Red Cross grounds, in Kacyiru.
The Buffaloes head into the game amid several challenges which include the resignation of former club president Benjamin Makombe, who left the club for personal reasons, and the departure of players who joined other clubs.
The Hills have been stepping up preparations, and say they are ready for the new campaign.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, Thousand Hills co-founder and vice president of the club, Serge Shema, said that, “The main target is to win the league title this season. The players have been working hard in training, and they are keen on win against Remera buffaloes.”
Thousand Hills will have to rely on team motivator Carlos Isimbi, Robert Mugisha and Jean Luc Tuyisenge if they’re to overcome their old rivals, and head coach Jimmy Mugabo is confident his players will shake off the ‘Remera Buffaloes challenge’ to get off to a winning start.
However, Mugabo also urged the players to be focused and make good use of every chance they get during their highly anticipated clash against former league giants Remera Buffaloes.
The 2017 champions won the pre-season 7’s tournament last month after defeating Lion de Fer in the final.
In other fixtures of the opening weekend, reigning champions Kigali Sharks will be up against Lion de Fer, at the same venue, while last season’s first runners-up Resilience will be hosting Kamonyi Pumas in Rusizi District.
The University of Rwanda’s Grizzlies also take on Muhanga in Huye District.
As was the case last season, the local rugby body has divided the championship into two zones; the Central/Kigali zone and Southern zone, where the best two teams from each zone will automatically seal ticket to semi-finals in July.
The Southern division comprises; Muhanga, Kamonyi Pumas, UR Grizzlies, Resilience and newly promoted duo Tumba Technical College and Burera Tigers, while the Central zone includes champions Kigali Sharks, Remera Buffaloes, Thousand Hills, and Lion de Fer.
Kigali Sharks beat Rusizi-based Resilience 27-14 in the final at Amahoro Stadium to lift their historic first league title last October.
Buffaloes Vs Thousand Hills
Kigali Sharks Vs Lion de Fer
UR Grizzles Vs Muhanga
Resilience Vs Puma