The Rugby Africa Men’s 7s tournament was officially launched on Thursday, 7th April at Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala. The same venue will host the event slated for the 23rd and 24th April 2022.
The launch was graced by representatives from Rugby Africa, Uganda Rugby Union, lead partners Nile Breweries Ltd through the Nile Special brand plus the Local Organizing Committee (LOC).
The tournament will feature 14 teams, that is defending champions Kenya, hosts Uganda plus; Ghana, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Senegal, Mauritius, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar, Cameroon and Burundi.
The showpiece is a qualifier for Commonwealth Games and 7s Rugby World Cup. The first two teams will make it to the Commonwealth Games scheduled for July in Birmingham whilst all the podium finishers will get tickets to the global event scheduled for September in Cape Town.
Uganda last hosted this tournament in 2017 and won it. Uganda Rugby Union President Godwin Kayangwe is optimistic that the title will once again stay in Kampala.
“Our team started preparations long ago and I believe they’re in very fine shape,” Kayangwe said adding that a South African tactician will be fine tuning all the national sides ahead of their respective engagements.
“The environment is very suitable for an event like this one and all teams should expect a great atmosphere,” Kayangwe added noting that all participating sides will be residing at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Rugby Africa Vice President Andrew Owor revealed that Uganda was given rights to host this tournament because of the hospitality they showed when they hosted previous continental engagements.
“Rugby Africa President (Khaled Babbou) will lead a delegation from the continental body down to Kampala to honor the games,” Owor revealed adding that April will be an exciting month for the game with the U-20 Barthés Trophy kicking off this weekend in Nairobi. The women’s 7s will be played later this month in Tunis.
Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chairman Philip Kiboijana noted that he will be working with a big team to deliver a successful tournament.
“It’s going to be a carnival setting and it will be a fan-filled entertaining tournament. There will be no dull moments,” Kiboijana noted adding that the pitch will be in perfect shape by kick off time.
John Paul Ssemakula who’s the Connections Manager Nile Breweries said that Nile Special who are much known in the XVs format of the game are delighted to be in 7s as well adding that rugby as a whole is a true reflection of Uganda.
“We are proud to associate with something that makes Uganda proud. We are also proud to associate with the game of rugby at various levels and formats. We’re here to support everyone who’s ready to make Uganda proud,” Ssemakula noted.
Participating teams are expected to start arriving in Uganda on 20th April 2022. Training schedules are slated for 22nd April 2022 at venues yet to be confirmed..
After round one fixtures, the teams will proceed to round two as per respective round one performances and subsequently to the latter stages of the tournament.
Nile Breweries Limited through the Nile Special brand are the tournament lead sponsors. The partners are; Century Bottling Company, Speke Resort Munyonyo, SMCG Wines, KCCA and the National Council of Sports.
Round 1 Fixtures (23rd April 2022)
*Kenya vs Senegal – 8:00a.m
*Uganda vs Burundi – 8:22a.m
*Zimbabwe vs Burkina Faso – 8:44 a.m
*Madagascar vs Botswana – 9:06a.m
*Namibia vs Ghana – 9:28a.m
*Zambia vs Cameroon -9:50a.m
*Tunisia vs Mauritius – 10:12a.m