Uganda Rugby 7s team has been withdrawn from World Rugby Sevens Repechage competition in Monaco after positive Covid19 cases in the delegation on arrival.
The development, confirmed by World Rugby, comes a day to Uganda’s tournament opener against Jamaica.
Prior to departure, coach Tolbert Onyango, Aaron Ofoyrwoth, Joseph Aredo and a team physiotherapist had tested positive and hence left behind.
The statement from World Rugby says that all Uganda players have been in strict isolation since arrival.
World Rugby statement reads in part: “In accordance with tournament regulations, the Uganda men’s team has been withdrawn from the World Rugby Sevens Repechage competition in Monaco from 18-20 June following a number of positive COVID-19 results determined during scheduled arrival testing.”
Uganda were drawn alongside France, Chile, Hong Kong and Jamaica in Pool B of the men’s Olympic Repechage tournament.
“In line with tournament rules, the pool stage matches involving Uganda will be recorded as a bye for their opponents in Pool B.
“Player welfare is World Rugby’s top priority and the international federation is providing full medical and operational support to ensure the health and wellbeing of the Ugandan delegation during their period of isolation, and will continue to implement the strict COVID-19 countermeasures throughout the tournament.”
This ends Uganda Rugby’s slim chance of qualifying at the 2020 Olympics which will take place on July 26-31 at Tokyo Stadium.
Its a huge blow for the boys, Uganda Rugby Union and the whole country at large after months of preparations that had seen the team take part at the Emirates Invitational Sevens in Dubai in March and Solidarity Camp in Stellenbosch (South Africa) last month.
Four members – Dr. Faith Komagum, Coach Onyango, players Kelvin Balagadde and James Odongo had flown to Monaco to join the rest of the contingent after positive cases were detected before departure.
Uganda Rugby Union General Secretary Peter Odong has said: “The Uganda Rugby 7s National team in Monaco has unfortunately had a couple of COVID-19 cases and with other team mate contacts we have had to be withdrawn in accordance with the tournament rules.
“While this is devastating to all given all the effort and preparation please spare a thought for the players who are not well. We wish them a speedy and full recovery and a safe journey back home.”
It should be remembered that the National Basketball Team, the Silverbacks, had her games postponed after five players tested positive for Covid19 hours to their first game in Tunisia in the Afrobasket Qualifiers in February.