Uganda unmoved in latest World Rugby rankings

Thursday November 19 2020

Seeking. Rugby Cranes wing Justin Kimono takes on the Zimbabwe forwards during the Victoria Cup last year in Kampala. PHOTO | EDDIE CHICCO

By Deus Bugembe

Uganda has remained ranked 39th in the latest rankings released by World Rugby, days after the latest round of international tests. While a number of nations worldwide have resumed business, Uganda is yet to play a Test since August last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

The Rugby Cranes’ last game was against Zambia in the Victoria Cup in Lusaka at the Chester Dean Arena Show Grounds, winning 25-36 to finish third in the four-nation competition won by Zimbabwe followed by Kenya in second. At 38.5 points, Uganda rank fifth on the continent behind Zimbabwe (38), Zambia (39), Kenya (25) and South Africa (13).

Before the pandemic interruption, Uganda were up for a busy year with a revised Africa Cup on card in June. 

Uganda were placed in Pool D with Algeria and Senegal. On paper, Uganda were favourites to progress but tougher tasks lay ahead enroute to recording a successful tournament. The two legged annual Elgon Cup against Kenya too was slated to take place, giving Uganda more ground to earn more points on the rankings grid.  The Uganda Rugby Union (URU) released a four-year strategic plan with “Becoming the most popular sport in the country with an unbeatable fan experience.”  

The same template had also envisaged rugby transforming into the second most popular sport at all levels and metrics in Uganda. Attention will now turn to what is in store in 2021 for Cranes. It still remains unclear when the games will resume having been off since mid-March.