Monday July 17 2017

No movement for Rugby Cranes despite huge win

Impeccable: Rugby Cranes star Wokorach flies

Impeccable: Rugby Cranes star Wokorach flies into the try area for one of his tries against Tunisia on Saturday. PHOTO by Eddie Chicco 

By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo


There was every reason for Philip Wokorach to lead his colleagues as they danced on the Legends Rugby Club turf on Saturday following the record 78-17 rout of Tunisia in the Africa Gold Cup.

The fullback racked up 31 points, including three tries, in Uganda’s 11-try display to accumulate a record score that effectively relegated the 59-10 annihilation of Botswana in 2015 to second place.
Rugby Cranes have hardly put a foot wrong this term but winning the inaugural Gold Cup remains a distant possibility.

Namibia kept their noses ahead on the six-team log with a last-gasp 31-26 home victory over Zimbabwe in Windhoek on the same day.

In fact, there was no movement. Uganda, now on 11 points, started the weekend in third and finished it there.

Kenya, 45-25 winners against Senegal in Nairobi, are second on 13 points behind leaders Namibia who have 15.
Zimbabwe are fourth on seven ahead of Senegal (1) and bottom side Tunisia (0).

The latter complained about the conditions they were subjected to while here, referring to the hotel as a dormitory and the transport means uncomfortable.
Namibia are coming here this Saturday but coach John Duncan is still soaking in the record that more than made up for Tunisia’s 41-17 victory at Legends back in 2009.

Ochow 51 not out
“We got five points and scored 78, rested players and gave others game time. It’s what we wanted, a perfect game” Duncan told Daily Monitor.

Besides Wokorach’s man-of-the-match performance, special praise was reserved for veteran forwards Mathias Ochwo and Alex Mubiru who earned their 51st and 50th cap respectively, the most any player has managed for Uganda.

They got on to the try scorers’ column as did Michael Wokorach, Ivan Magomu, James Odong, Pius Ogena, Solomon Okia, Charles Uhuru and captain Brian Odongo, leading 43-0 at the break.

Odongo wants his team to forget the pressure that comes with facing regular Rugby World Cup finalists Namibia who won here 40-31 on their last visit last year.

“We are under dogs but we are in for a win. We should relax and not put ourselves under any pressure but carry on like we have been doing every other game,” Odongo said.

The 21-19 victory against a then-World Cup bound Namibia in 2006 remains one of the biggest results in Ugandan rugby and a repeat would trump it.
Only Ochwo and Mubiru played in that memorable win.

Rugby results
Uganda 78-17 Tunisia
Kenya 45-25 Senegal
Namibia 31-26 Zimbabwe

TABLE Standings

Team P W D L Pts
Namibia 3 3 0 0 15
Kenya 3 2 0 1 13
Uganda 3 2 0 1 11
Zimbabwe 2 1 1 0 7
Senegal 4 0 4 0 1
Tunisia 3 0 3 0 0