Rugby Cranes carry slim Elgon Cup advantage to Kisumu

Rugby Cranes winger Jacob Ochen evades a Kenyan defender in the first leg encounter. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

Uganda edged Kenya 21-20 with a Liam Walker penalty at the death last Sunday at Kings Park Arena, Bweyogerere.

The Rugby Cranes take on Kenya on Saturday at the Momboleo stadium in Kisumu in the return leg of the 2023 Elgon Cup with a slight advantage.

Uganda edged Kenya 21-20 with a Liam Walker penalty at the death last Sunday at Kings Park Arena, Bweyogerere.

The result saw them shoot two birds with a stone, win the Victoria Cup and earn an advantage in the Elgon Cup.

The Rugby Cranes head to Kisumu hoping to avoid defeat and win only their third Elgon Cup in 13 attempts.

Uganda’s last Elgon Cup win came in 2012 when they beat Kenya 19-5 in Uganda and lost 12-0 in Kenya, the two results gave the Cranes a 19-17 win aggregate win and they have never lifted the prestigious trophy since then.

Last week’s Victory Cup heroics remain fresh and Uganda want to carry that momentum into today’s game to make it two trophies in as many weeks.

The last time the two sides met at today’s venue was in the 2019 Elgon Cup and Uganda emerged 16-13 victors thanks to tries from Adrian Kasito, Santos Senteza and Aaron Ofoyrwoth’s boot delivering with a drop goal and penalty.

Kenya recovered to beat Uganda 16-5 a week later at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds to win their 11th Elgon Cup gong.

A lot has changed since then, different players and coaching staff for Uganda.

The current crop is desperate to revive test rugby and the resurgence started with the Victoria Cup title last week, they are hungrier and want more.

“We are going to Kenya confident we can return with the Elgon Cup. We played them last week and did well, there is no reason we can’t replicate last week’s performance.  This is a young side that has set goals and objectives to win things and take back test rugby to the top where it belongs,” Cranes captain Ivan Magomu said.

Kenya assistant coach Carlos Katywa was not happy with his side’s performance in the first leg and highlighted they had a lot to work on before today’s tie.

The breakdown and set pieces were a mess while they gave away a number of turnovers.

The manner in which they lost in Uganda rubbed them the wrong way and they will be seeking revenge in this old rivalry.