Rugby Africa Cup
10th July 2021
*Ghana VS Uganda (Men), 3pm
14th July 2021.
*Uganda VS Zimbabwe (Women), 1pm
*Algeria VS Ghana (Men), 3pm
18th July 2021.
*Zimbabwe VS Uganda (Women), 1pm
*Uganda VS Algeria (Men), 3pm
The Rugby Africa Cup Group C games, hosted in Uganda, officially get underway on Saturday as the Rugby Cranes face Ghana All Stars at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds in Kampala.
The games will act as qualifiers for the 2023 World Rugby Cup.
Uganda is among the host countries alongside Burkina Faso, Kenya and Ivory Coast.
The top two teams of each pool will progress to the third and final round of the Rugby Africa Cup in 2022.
The 8 teams knock-out tournament played with quarterfinals, semi-finals and a grand finale will see the winner qualify directly for RWC 2023 and the runner-up compete in a global repechage tournament.
The 40th ranked Uganda, under coach Brian Makalama, will fancy their chance to top the group ahead of Ghana (87) and Algeria (N/A).
“We have worked hard during the past sessions, the key is to implement what we have been training and see where we can change,” Makalama said ahead of the game.
“We have to go out there and enjoy the game. The boys have to explore themselves, learn and prepare better for the next fixture as well.”
Makalama, standing in from the sick Robert Sseguya, named a 28-man squad that had eight debutants while Ivan Magomu was named the captain.
Ghana, who jetted in on July 3, may not pose a big threat but Uganda should not take them for granted after some shocking results on the continent after Ivory Coast and Senegal stunned Namibia and Kenya respectively last week.
The Rugby Cranes won the Africa Cup in 2007 when they beat Madagascar 42-11 in Antananarivo and were runners up in 2012 after falling to Zimbabwe in Tunisia.
The current team will seek to exorcise past demons in a tournament which is being played under strict Covid19 protocol.
The teams have been housed in a bubble and were subjected to PCR tests for Covid19 ahead of Saturday’s d-day
- Also Read: We are buzzing to go – Ivan Magomu
The Rugby Cranes lineup
Black Pirates’ Kelvin Balagadde is the only debutant in the starting lineup. He is the other flanker alongside Betway KOBs’ Byron Oketayot and the two are joined by Desire Ayera in the back row.
Captain Ivan Magomu and Paul Epilo are the two half backs while speedster Pius Ogena has been introduced at 12.
Assistant Captain Brian Odongo, Sentos Ssenteza and Faraji Odugo are the front row forwards.
The team in brief:
Ronald Kanyanya, Saul Kivumbi, Collins Kimbowa, Jacob Ochen, Mark Omoding, Aaron Ofoywroth, Maxwell Ebonga, Claude Otema
How To Watch
With the country still under lockdown due to surging cases of Covid19, the organisers have decided to play the games behind closed doors.
No fans will be allowed to enter Kyadondo facility while media access is restricted to only accredited journalists who returned Covid19 negative tests on Friday.
The games can be streamed live on Uganda Rugby Union Youtube Channel. Click here to watch.
You can as well follow live updates on The-SportsNation social media pages.