Eight of the nine players with experience of playing in Kenya will start Uganda’s Rugby World Cup qualifying game against the east African neighbours in France tomorrow.
There is one debutant in the starting XV picked by Rugby Cranes head coach Fred Mudoola for the win-or-bust quarterfinal clash at the Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence. Mudoola is definitely banking on inside knowledge to turn the tables on the Kenyans who will start as favourites in the eight-team tournament. France-based fullback Philip Wokorach is the standout name having dominated the Kenya rugby scene with his mind-blowing side-steps for Kabras Sugar in 2016.
In a year where the 15s has been divorced from the 7s, the 28-year old is the only one doubling up and this games will have fans of his local club side cheering. “X-factor, team structure and opponent we are facing. I factored in their strengths and weaknesses, plus our capabilities, of course” Mudoola responded when asked to explain his choices.
Wokorach is joined by front-row Asuman Mugerwa, who guided Kabras Sugar to their Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup in March and April respectively this year. Kenyan-born back-row Scot Oluoch has been a regular in local rugby circles, having studied at St Mary’s Yala before playing for Mwamba and Kenya Harlequins. Forward Mark Omoding plays for Quins while another forward Eliphaz Emong once played for Homeboyz and Kabras Sugar with Solomon Okia playing for Quins. Second row Charles Uhuru had a brief spell at Kabras, as did first centre Pius Ogena and Thomas Gwotko, the only debutant in the starting XV. The latter is also Wokorach’s young brother.
RUGBY CRANES XVs
Santos Ssenteza, Faraj Odugo, Asuman Mugerwa, Charles Uhuru, Joaquim Chissano, Eliphaz Emong, Mark Omoding, Scot Oluoch, Paul Epilo, Ivan Magomu, Lawrence Ssebuliba, Pius Ogena, Thomas Gwokto, Solomon Okia, Philip Wokorach