Adrian Kasito scored 13 points while winger Solomon Okia and eighth man Desire Ayera bagged two tries apiece the Rugby Cranes beat Ghana 53-12 in the Rugby Africa Cup group C opener at an empty Kyadondo ground on Saturday.
The hosts were quickly out of the blocks in their bid to finish among the top two in order to advance to the next stage in a tournament that also acts as the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
It was also the first time the national team was playing an international since 2019. The 2020 season was wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Head coach Robert Seguya, currently undergoing chemotherapy after being diagonised with leukemia, would have been pleased with what he saw as his assistants Brian Makalama and Bobby Musinguzi took charge.
An early try from hooker Faraji Odugo set the tone. Captain Ivan Magomu missed the conversion. The fly-half then handed over kicking duties to Kasito to set the scene on his first start at fullback.
Kasito nailed a penalty and then converted tries from Ayera and Brian Odongo for a 22-0 lead inside 26 minutes. The stroll slowed down as the West Africans broke down Uganda’s defence.
Miles Scott and Tume-Baofo Josiah Kwetu touched down to reduce the deficit to 22-12. An Ayera try at the stroke of halftime ensured normal service was to come after the breather.
In the second half, Makalama saw his team play some hair-raising rugby. First, inside centre Pius Ogena, the local rugby MVP, broke and offloaded to replacement scrum half Aaron Ofoywroth to score, Kasito offloaded.
Clearly having a party amid the quiet, man of the match Kasito initiated the next try with a kick-and-chase. He passed to Okia who slalomed past two defenders for a touchdown.
What do you think Kasito did with the resultant conversion? Just smile. Ayera then scored the next try but Kasito became human again, missing his kick. He never kicked again.
Substitute hooker Ronald Kanyanya then scored the eighth and final try after side-stepping a defender in a motion that made all the backs proud. Ofoywroth missed the conversion. It didn’t matter.
Ghana face Algeria on Wednesday. Thereafter, Uganda clash with the North Africans under strict guidelines intended to curb the spread of the rampaging virus.