The resignation was profound. It was hard to watch, even harder to take. Rugby Cranes were second best only because they are only two teams that compete for the Elgon Cup.
In reality, Uganda were worse than losing 34-16 to Kenya in the first leg at a packed Legends Rugby ground under pristine weather conditions.
“It’s hardrd but we did perform up to it.” to find positives,” Uganda coach John Duncan, looking glum, stated. “We set a standa
On the balance of play, the margin was bigger than the five tries scored by the Simbas. The hosts touched down late in second half to give the scoreline respect it hardly deserved.
In a blistering start, tries from Jacob Ojee, Leo Seje and Oliver Mangeni put the game to bed in the first half with fly-half Ivan Magomu’s three penalties keeping the scoreboard at 9-24.
“Yes, the early try helped us. We are only getting into a new style of play so it was important to start well,” Kenyan captain David Chenge said.
Kenya played some scintillating rugby. You saw the blueprint of their recently-appointed New Zealand coach Ian Snook. They were poor man’s All Blacks, moving the ball with so much pace.
Rugby Cranes couldn’t keep up. Forwards Edgar Pajob, Nathan Bwambale and scrum-half Ivan Kirabo were dazed. Saul Kivumbi, Paul Ssekate and Aaron Ofoywroth replaced then inside 30 minutes. All the experiments backfired.
Nothing changed. The second half was as high scoring but it wasn’t because Uganda improved that much. Kenya took the foot off gas from which captain Asuman Mugerwa crushed over.
That try seemed to make the guests angry as substitute centre Biko Adema responded with a late try to ensure that the score was more than double.
Since 2004, Uganda have only won the two-team Elgon Cup thrice and this year’s title seems already engraved with five letters not six.
Coaches Duncan and Robert Seguya must now rebuild the team’s confidence. The return leg is on July 7 in Nairobi in a game that will double as part of the six-team Africa Gold Cup.
By then, Uganda will have faced five-time World Cup finalists Namibia away in Windhoek in the tournament opener on June 16. There’s a dark cloud already.