Seven newbies up for Rugby Cranes debuts in France

Super Vision. Phillip Wokorach vies for possession against Zimbabwe last year. He will join the test side in France. PHOTO | JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • All eyes will be on Mudoola and his assistant, Bobby Musinguzi come July 1, with their starting 15 the point of interest.
  • The team’s first hurdle will be toppling neighbours and rivals Kenya in the quarters on July 1 at the Stade Maurice David.

In less than two weeks, the Rugby Cranes will find their way to Entebbe International Airport to start a 13 hour connecting flight with French cities, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, the destination.

While there, coach Fred Mudoola and his chosen lot will attempt to break the shackles by qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be played in France. Earlier in the week, Mudoola handpicked what he perceives as 28 of the best available rugby players in the country, captained by Ivan Magomu.

The team’s first hurdle will be toppling neighbours and rivals Kenya in the quarters on July 1 at the Stade Maurice David. Go past Kenya and play the winner between Algeria and Senegal in the corresponding last eight tie.

Mudoola’s trusted 28 is a blend of experience and youth with seven uncapped players in competitive Rugby Cranes games. Among the forwards, prop Alema Ruhweza, lock Akera Komaketch and flank Alhaji Manano will be up to make their Rugby Cranes bow. Thomas Gwokto, James Mugisha, Timothy Odongo and Joseph Oyet are all up for that precious first cap in the backs.

The same cannot be said of former captain Asuman Mugerwa, Collin Kimbowa, Charles Uhuru, Eliphaz Emong, Robert Aziku, Pius Ogena and Scot Olouch who have been part of the cranes set up for some time.  Among the backs, skipper Ivan Magomu along with wing Lawrence Ssebuliba and Phillip Wokorach are the most capped while Joseph Aredo who debuted for the side nine  years ago in 2013, returns to the test set up.

All eyes will be on Mudoola and his assistant, Bobby Musinguzi come July 1, with their starting 15 the point of interest. With the 15s and 7s Cranes divorced, the former has seen new faces come up the ranks but the exceptional addition of France based Wokorach is something to be optimistic about. He brings a wealth of experience having played in France at a higher level than his teammates for three years now.

Forwards: Collin Kimbowa , Asuman Mugerwa , Alema Ruhweza , Santos Ssenteza, Faraj Odugo , Ronald Kanyanya , Akera Komakech , Charles Uhuru  (vice captain), Eliphaz Emong , Joaquim Chisano, Robert Aziku , Michael Otto , Alhaji Manano , Jacob Ochen , Pius Ogena , Scott Olwoch, Mark Omoding

Backs: Paul Epillo (vice captain), Conrad Wanyama , Joseph Aredo, Ivan Magomu (captain), Thomas Gwokto , James Mugisha , Timothy Odongo, Solomon Okia , Lawrence Ssebuliba , Joseph Oyet , Philip Wokorach.

Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinals

 Namibia vs Burkina Faso

 Zimbabwe vs Côte d’Ivoire

 Senegal vs Algeria

  Uganda vs Kenya

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