Sunday September 3 2017

Lady Rugby Cranes draw familiar foes in Africa 7s

Chosen Ones. Ayikoru of Thunderbirds tackles

Chosen Ones. Ayikoru of Thunderbirds tackles Wokorach of Walukuba. Both were selected for national duty. PHOTO BY AMINAH BABIRYE 

By RAUL SWAIB KANYIKE

KAMPALA. The draws for this month’s Africa Women 7s are out. Uganda Lady Cranes has been pooled alongside defending champions South Africa, hosts Tunisia and minnows Morocco.
Coach Helen Koyokoyo Buteme, who faced South Africa and Tunisia a couple of times during her playing career, believes her team stands a chance. “(Yes) it’s a tough draw but we will take it a game at a time. We have a very young side but with a pretty high and varied skills set. We also have the veterans like Charlotte Thereza Mudoola and Aisha Nakityo Nabulime leading the team. This team will do Uganda proud,” she said.
Last year during the Rugby Afrique 7s in Zimbabwe, Uganda lost 29-05 to South Africa in the semi-finals but managed to overturn a 07-05 first half deficit to beat Tunisia 17-12 in the group stages.
“I have only seen Morocco in action once when they hosted the World Cup qualifiers in 2012. Since then they have not participated in any continental rugby tournament which makes them unknown,” added Buteme.
Samiya Ayikoru is undoubtedly one of Uganda’s most reliable players. She also faced Tunisia and South Africa last year, scoring a try against the latter.
“I think we can put up a fight. South Africa is tough but we also need to believe in ourselves. Tunisia wasn’t very strong but being at home gives them some advantage. We just need to fight and work hard,” she added.
The order of play will see Uganda play all pool games on September 16 against Tunisia, Morocco and end with South Africa.
The winner of the two-day tournament will qualify for next year’s 7s World Cup, and the two top-placed Commonwealth nations shall represent Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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