Rugby Cranes Sevens (Uganda senior men’s rugby 7s team) Head Coach Tolbert Onyango says that selecting a young side for the upcoming Safari 7s tournament is intentional and will benefit the national team setup.
Onyango named his 12-man squad for the Safari 7s on Tuesday with the showpiece scheduled for 30 and 31 October 2021 at Nyayo Stadium in Kenya.
“We’ve selected a young squad to enable us build capacity,” Onyango told Uganda Rugby Union website adding that; “this tournament will give us a good test of high intensity international rugby . It will be a notch higher than our tournaments here and what a better way to put our players skills to the test.”
“First test is to go through the pool games and into the main cup knockout games,” Onyango further added.
Kobs star Ian Munyani will Captain the Uganda side and will be assisted by former Kenya Harlequins halfback Aaron Ofoyrwoth, who currently plies his trade with local outfit Heathens.
Norbert Okeny (Heathens) who has scored 100 points in the ongoing Guinness National 7s Series is in the mix alongside Dennis Etwau (Jinja Hippos) who currently has 97 points in the local series.
Kobs youngster Karim Arinaitwe has been impressive in the series and has been rewarded with a call up.
Returning to play on Kenyan soil are former Kabras RFC player Innocent Gwokto and Daystar Falcons’ Levis Ocen.
Kelvin Balagadde, Adrian Kasito, Ivan Otema, Timothy Kisiga and Bryon Oketayot are the other players on the squad sheet.
Uganda last took part in the Safari 7s in 2019 where they finished 10th of 16 teams.
World 7s Series core side Spain, 2018 winners Samurai, South Africa All stars Academy, Germany, Uganda, Red Wailers, and Nigeria’s Stallion sevens are all set to feature in tournament.
Kenya will be represented by Kenya Morans- the defending Champions, Shujaa, Kenya Under 20 and 2019 National 7s Circuit Champions KCB.
Confirmed sides are: Men: Spain, Germany, South Africa All Stars 7s Academy, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Samurai, Red Wailers, Stallion Sevens Nigeria, KCB, Kenya U20, Kenya Shujaa and Kenya Morans & Women: Zimbabwe, South Africa Select, Kenya Lionesses I, Kenya Lionesses II
Uganda A squad:
Byron Oketayot, Ivan Otema, Kelvin Balagadde, Levis Ocen, Ian Munyani, Adrian Kasito, Aaron Ofoywroth, Karim Arinaitwe, Innocent Gwokto, Timothy Kisiga, Nobert Okeny, Denis Etwau.
Coach: Tolbert Onyango
Team Manager- Michael Wandera
Physiotherapist- Samuel Asiimwe
Media Manager- Denise Namale
2019 Safari 7s positions. (Men’s teams)
2. South Africa
4. Russia Academy
8. Red Wailers
9. Western Province
13. Blue Bulls