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Rugby Cranes out to shake off rust

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Rugby Cranes in a training session recently. URU Photo

Rugby Africa Cup, Group C
*Uganda vs Ghana
Saturday, 10th July 2021
@Kyadondo Rugby Club – 3 PM

For the first time in over one and half years, Uganda men’s national Rugby XVs side, Rugby Cranes will be in action when they host Ghana on Saturday, 10th July at Kyadondo Rugby Club in the first Group C game of the Rugby Africa Cup.

The 2020 international XVs season didn’t happen due to Covid-19 disruptions and with comepetitive play now reinstated, Rugby Cranes will be seeking to shake off some rust on a continental stage and put up a good display at their own backyard.

As a Covid-19 preventive measure, the team has been in a bubble in preparation for the games, subjected to PCR tests for Covid-19 as well as undergoing regular testing by the Uganda Rugby Medical Society team. The team has been strictly observing Covid-19 SOPs in the bubble and had no contact with anyone outside the bubble throughout this period.

New Rugby Cranes Captain Ivan Magomu is eager to get back into action and wants to start his reign on a winning note.

“I’m deeply honored to be named Captain, thanks to Uganda Rugby Union, friends and family. We hope to win our game against Ghana and I believe we can do it because the boys are in great shape,” Magomu said.

“It’s been a while since we played for the national team and we can’t wait for the match. Everybody is feeling great ahead of the game and we all hope for good results,” Magomu added.

The Rugby Africa Cup forms a pathway to the 2023 Rugby World Cup with participants across the groups in the continent eyeing for one direct qualification spot into the final World Cup tournament in France and for one place in the final subsequent qualification tournament(s).

Rugby Cranes will play host to Algeria on 18th July in the second game of the tournament. This game too will be held at Kyadondo.

The Rugby Africa Cup is an annual Rugby Union tournament involving African nations, organised by Rugby Africa.

The tournament was first held in 2000 and has since been contested on an annual basis.

This year the top 14 teams based on the African ranking will compete in a single coordinated competition until the last two face each other in the final in 2022.

Starting with the Rugby Africa Cup Repechage which was hosted by the Burkina Faso Rugby Union in the Capital, Ouagadougou at the Stade 4 Août Stadium, from the 5–13 June 2021, till the last game to be played in Kampala, Uganda on 18 July, a total of 27 matches will have been played.

About 40 match officials from 11 African countries have been deployed from Rugby Africa across the continent to support the hosting Unions’ workforce.

The second round of the Rugby Africa Cup will be played across 4 Pools of 3 teams each in July in 3 different venues, namely Kenya, Côte d’ivoire and Uganda, the 4th one remains to be confirmed. The top 2 teams of each Pool will progress to the 3rd and final round of the Rugby Africa Cup in 2022. An 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 Hlobal Repechage Tournament.

Initially, Tunisia was also meant to host the tournament. However due to the rapid escalation of Covid-19 in the country, Rugby Africa is reviewing their viability and assessing options.

Rugby Cranes squad.

Santos Ssenteza (Heathens), Brian Odongo (KOBs), Collin Kimbowa (KOBs), Saul Kivumbi (KOBs), Asuman Mugerwa (Kabras), Faragi Odugo(KOBs), Ronald Kanyanya (Heathens), Robert Angualia Aziku (KOBs), Eliphaz Emong (Hippos), Joaquim Chissano Olwangu (Mongers), Kelvin Balagadde Pirates, Byron Oketayot KOBs, Jacob Ochen (Hippos), Desire Ayera Ruhweza (Pirates), Isaac Rujumba Karugaba (Pirates), Mark Omoding (Harlequins), Paul Epilo (Heathens), Aaron Ofoyrwoth (Heathens ), Ivan Magomu (Pirates) ,Daudi Semwami (KOBs), Pius Ogena (KOBs), Justin Kimono Simwende (KOBs), Alhaji Manano (KOBs), Solomon Okia Saulo (Pirates ), Maxwell Ebonga (Hippos ), Claude Otema (Heathens), Adrian Kasito (KOBs) and Denis Etwau (Hippos).

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