Undisputed, unbeaten, challenged but was never equaled! Congratulations Rugby Cranes on lifting the Africa Men’s Sevens Title and consequently, qualifying for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
The results came through over the two-days at Kyadondo but the country’s rugby body and the respective team, the Rugby Cranes Sevens, had planned for this win over months before. Talk of the perfect organization, the perfect selection of the right players for training and the tournament.
Then wow! The will and zeal by the players and the coaches that was displayed! So, the win that everyone in rugby circles witnessed was deserving and the ice to the cake was the big-time sponsorship by Beverage company, Nile Breweries Uganda Limited and others.
At least, everyone had played their part perfectly well enough in delivering Uganda to such a well deserving win and eventual ticket to their World Cup stage in South Africa later this year. The Uganda National Rugby Sevens` team is a national sevens side. One of Uganda’s biggest accomplishments has been to win a berth at the 2016 Dubai Sevens.
Here at the investigator sports desk, we shall take you our ardent readers, through the journey to the 2022 World Rugby Cup. In the interest of space and time, we shall sum-up the long journey to only the two-day event that astounded Kyadondo Rugby Grounds.
Day one beauty:
On Day One, Uganda beautifully thumped Burundi 71-0, Tunisia 29-0 and took on Zambia 40-7 before day two where the team had familiar results with a 50-0 win over the West African`s Burkina Faso and a 22-12 East African big statement win over noisy neighbors across the Mijingo, Kenya, in the semifinal.
That win for the team off a Kenyan fixture painted a picture for everyone to see that Uganda’s sevens rugby team is the big brother in the region. With the points in Uganda’s result bag, it was clear the team was destined for the title in the final game.
The Kenyan win:
Semi-final win against Kenya also proved a point that Uganda remains the big brother of the E.African rugby countries. The way Uganda beat Kenya epitomized what the side has been going through behind the scenes. They were a well-oiled machine and a class better than the other 13 sides that showed up at Kyadondo.
The final game:
Uganda beat Zimbabwe, 28-00, in the Cup Final to be crowned African Champions as they went unbeaten over the two-day event, conceding only three tries, one against Zambia and two against Kenya. Uganda opened the scoreboard through Vice-Captain, Ian Munyani`s early try pouncing on a loose ball to dive over under and between the posts. Like it had been his duty, Philip Wokorach situated himself for yet another chance converting with ease as Uganda made their early 07-00 lead.
When the locks opened, Captain Michael Wokorach got his sturdy game of the final after a strong carry from Desire Ayera. Timothy Kisiga scored twice in this game to send the fans in attendance into a bare passion of excitement. Rugby Cranes 7s were by every inch the best team during the two-day Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens tournament at Kyadondo over the weekend. Everyone perhaps saw and learned that, as Coach Tolbert Onyango’s team stamped it with a 26-0 rout of Zimbabwe to lift a third African title.
That is how good and prepared the hosts looked at this tournament with straight wins from start to finish. Zimbabwe, who recovered from a shock loss in their first match on Day One to match onto the final stage, won the silver medal. Kenya, despite losing to hosts also completed the podium, and qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens, after beating Zambia, 19-12, in the bronze medal match. This final ensured the southern Africans were humiliated again. Cranes Rugby sevens other win against Zim was in Africa Men’s final after 10-7 in 2017 at the Legends Rugby Club.
The fan factor:
That the heavens opened and poured heavily on Sunday morning was not an excuse for Rugby Cranes Sevens` fan base. They braved the chilling meteorological conditions and ran down at Kyadondo to support the national team. Uganda’s Captain Michael Wokorach in fact got himself to quote saying the fan deserves the respect and that every team’s win was for the 8th player, in this case, the fan. “We had to go all out for our fans. We Know what it means to them. It’s great that we are returning to the World Cup and will also play at the Commonwealth Games,” Wokorach noted.
Even after the morning downpour that left Kyadondo waterlogged in every bit, nothing could dull the noise of the huge crowd that saw Uganda qualify for the 2022 Rugby World Cup. Kenya finished third and will join Uganda and Zimbabwe in Cape Town, South Africa, as the continent’s representatives. Uganda and Zimbabwe as the two finalists also qualified for the July Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
Phillip Wokorach was the icing on the cake. This Cranes’ superstar, France-based, like he had been born to do it, converted all tries as scores, missing only one that was in the final against Zimbabwe. But that one conversation blunder (off the target) could not refuse the home boys from celebrating and surely, they did.
Kenya tactical man Tolbert Onyango, saw the big potential in Wokorach and called him up and, willingly arrived for duty from a French rugby league. Just hours to the tournament, Tolbert told this website thus; “Phillip’s addition is a big hope for the team and the country. His experience and exposure could surely shake things here, put pressure on the visitors which is good for the team.” So, the team more than needed Phillip at such a tournament. He joined and he did not disappoint as you all saw.
There is not a single way the team could have been helped to the victory if Nile Breweries Limited, through their flagship beverage brand, Nile Special, had not come on board. Their support to the Africa Rugby 7s hosts, of UGX200m for the two-day long tournament at Kyadondo gave the team an upper hand.
Century Bottling Company’s Rwenzori Water and KCCA were the other co-sponsors of the event. But Nile Special has been there for the team through times, even giving dimes to Uganda Rugby Union (URU) for the national league where a big bunch of these players that have just won the Africa title play their club rugby. The sponsors have made Uganda proud.
You have been such a wonderful team. Right from training sessions for the last six months, you have shown the love for the silver ware. You all (the Players and the technical staff) put your brains, your energies, your bodies to just one thing; work hard and win this one. During the tournament, you boys took every game, one by one, for a win and, you delivered the country to the World Cup. Kudos!
Uganda’s full results – Day 1
Uganda 71-0 Burundi
Uganda 29-0 Tunisia
Uganda 40-7 Zambia
Uganda 50-0 Burkina Faso
Uganda 22-12 Kenya
Uganda 26-0 Zimbabwe
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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