Lady Cranes come of age in true style

Thursday July 15 2021

Moving Machine. Former captain Atyang put in a Player of Match shift on July 14, 2021. PHOTO/J. BATANUDDE

By Deus Bugembe

The Rugby Lady Cranes were unstoppable as they recorded their biggest win in test rugby, beating Zimbabwe 41-0 in the Rugby Africa Cup pool C encounter at Kyadondo yesterday.

After a slow start, Uganda got rid of the nerves and got going with a dominant all-round performance that proved too much for their opponents. Fullback Samiya Ayikoru got them off the mark, splitting Zimbabwe’s defence with a dummy to score. Debutant Emily Lekuru got Uganda’s second try to head for the break with a 10-0 advantage despite having Yvonne Najjuma in the sinbin. There were five more to come. Coach Leo Lubambula, deputised by Kigongo Sebalamu, had indicated the side had worked day and night to polish the set pieces.

The line out was off colour but their scrum was brutal with former captain Winnie Atyang leading the pack from the front at second row. She was woman of the match.
“I had one instruction from my coaches and it was to play with the ball in my hands and that is what I did. It has paid off well,” said Atyang after receiving her MVP accolade.

The hosts stamped their authority on the game with an effective scrum that did wonders.
The second half saw Uganda pick up from where they had left by adding five tries to make it a seven-try game. Captain Peace Lekuru got herself a brace while namesake Emily scored a trademark second try. Wing Grace Auma dotted over in the corner after the backline exhibited swift running rugby accompanied with good hands before veteran Asha Nakityo came off the bench to score the seventh after a couple of phases in front of the posts. 

There were plenty of positives to pick but the kicking is an area the Ugandans can work on having struggled to find touch on a number of occasions while only three of the seven tries were converted. “It was all about teamwork and pushing each other. We expected to win but not by this margin,” said captain Lekuru, who was unplayable at first centre.

Results - Women
Uganda    41-0    Zimbabwe
Algeria     20-22 Ghana
Sunday fixtures - Kyadondo
Uganda       vs.   Zimbabwe, 1pm
Uganda       vs.   Algeria, 3pm