Lady Cranes need to do damage control in duel against Kenya

Tuesday August 13 2019

Uganda's Peace Mirembe (L) and Winnie Atyang

Uganda's Peace Mirembe (L) and Winnie Atyang (R) try to stop a Kenyan player in the second leg of the Elgon Cup at Kyadondo recently. File Photo 

By SWAIB RAUL KANYIKE

The Uganda Lady Cranes' opening game at the ongoing 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers, in South Africa was a baptism of fire. Edgar Lemerigar's girls succumbed to an 89-05 defeat to hosts South Africa last Friday in a match where the women in green and gold scored a mammoth 15 tries.

Today, Lemerigar will hope and pray that the team stands up against the Kenya Lionesses, who opened up their account with a 35-05 win over debutants Madagascar. The match is scheduled to take place at 2pm at the Bosman Stadium.

Despite Kenya uncharacteristically struggling against Madagascar, Uganda knows there is no place to hide, especially if the last two meetings between these teams are anything to go by.

Kenya defeated Uganda 77-18 on aggregate over two legs in the Elgon Cup.

It is widely expected that South Africa and Kenya, the top ranked teams at the tournament, will finish in the top positions, respectively. The winners qualify automatically while the second placed team goes into a repêchage tournament against the same placed opposition from other global qualifying regions.

"This will be the third time we are meeting Kenya in two months and the girls have picked confidence in this picture. We will definitely see a better performance from the previous ones," Lemerigar told the Rugby Afrique website.

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Lemerigar is expected to shuffle his run-on 15 but there is no doubt that utility back Samiya Ayikoru, who scored Uganda's only try at the end of the game, will be the nation's go-to woman again. Loose forward Mary Gloria Ayot, who left the pitch early in the opening game, is expected to make today's team.

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