Lady Rugby Cranes (Uganda women’s Rugby XVs national team) are currently ranked 31st globally after an impressive display in the Rugby Africa Cup – Group C over a fortnight ago at Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala.
Lady Rugby Cranes completed a double over Zimbabwe Lady Sables off 03-34 and 41-00 victories in a space of less than a week.
Before the double header against Lady Sables, Lady Rugby Cranes were ranked 39th globally and their triumph in the two legs enabled them to leap frog eight positions going top.
Lady Rugby Cranes Head Coach Leonard Lubambula is happy with the recent developments in the ladies game but says that it will take dedication from stake holders to maintain or even uplift the team’s recent ranking.
“It is a very good achievement and we shouldn’t look down at it. However, it is going to take effort and a lot of investment to either maintain or get better ranking,” Lubambula told Uganda Rugby website.
“Our target is to qualify for the World Cup in 2025. We want to be at least a second tier nation by 2023,” Lubambula added.
For Lubambula, the team bouncing back to winning ways after several years of poor displays is a good thing and it is something they will possibly build on going forward.
“Winning two games against Zimbabwe women has been a great achievement on our side. I’m pleased the girls had a brilliant experience in the two games. In the first game, you saw they got excited with the dominance and forgot about the game model,” Lubambula noted.
“Getting into the second game, they expected a harder game than the first but I’m happy they followed our plan. We polished our line-outs and scrums as evident in the game,” Lubambula added.
Lady Rugby Cranes had last registered a win in 2013 when they beat Kenya 13-8 in the return leg of the Elgon Cup at Kyadondo Rugby Club. The 2019 Elgon Cup in Kisumu and Kampala was the test side’s first taste of action since 2015 when they lost the Elgon Cup 11-12 on aggregate.
The four-year lull stagnated the women’s game with only the sevens side active. After losing twice, 35-5 and 43-15 to the Kenya Lionesses in the 2019 Elgon Cup, they left for South Africa where they lost their World Cup Qualifiers games. South Africa humbled them 89-7, Kenya overpowered them 37-5 before Madagascar compounded the misery with a close 15-5 loss.
Since then, Coaches Leo Lubambula and Kigongo Sebalamu have shaped things by realigning the Lady Cranes set up.
New players and a new captain in Peace Lekuru surrounded with lots of talents in the likes of Samiya Ayikoru, Emily Lekuru, Faith Namugga, Grace Auma, Gloria Ayot and many others.
The old guard of Winnie Atyang, Charlotte Mudoola and Asha Nakityo has helped with leadership and experience.
The side is operating as a unit and old blame games have been put to bed, it’s time to produce results.
The wins over Zimbabwe have given the Lady Cranes ground to build on ahead of future engagements.
The side looked fit and hungry while the set pieces especially the scrum looked good, thanks to Brian Makalama who chips in with some knowledge on the play.
The line outs and other aspects can get better with time. After years of lagging, the Lady Cranes are up and running waiting for the next task after humbling Zimbabwe.
Up next for the Lady Rugby Cranes is the Elgon Cup tournament that was rescheduled over a month ago. The event was initially slated for 26th June 2021. Last year’s edition wasn’t held due to Covid-19 disruptions. Uganda hasn’t beaten Kenya in their last eight meetings.
Partial Credit to ugandarugby.com