What awaits Rugby Cranes in France?

Phillip Wokurach against Tunisia recently.

What you need to know:

  • This all had to do with the separation of the 15s and 7s code, limiting the pool of players as some of the country’s best players ended up in the shorter code’s camp.
  • Against Kenya, Mudoola is well aware of what awaits him. He has faced the rivals and neighbors both as a player and coach on numerous occasions.

The Rugby Cranes safely arrived in Marseille, France on Wednesday and have tasted a bit of what awaits them for the next ten days although the real business begins when they take on Kenya in the Rugby Africa Cup quarters on Saturday. They also double as 2023 World Cup qualifiers.

Coach Fred Mudoola made it clear that the selection process was not an easy one with a lot of pondering to do.

This all had to do with the separation of the 15s and 7s code, limiting the pool of players as some of the country’s best players ended up in the shorter code’s camp.

Against Kenya, Mudoola is well aware of what awaits him. He has faced the rivals and neighbors both as a player and coach on numerous occasions.

Their physicality and ruthlessness at the breakdown is something he cannot ignore.

For ages, Uganda has been known for playing a running game and counting on the soft skills which don’t come naturally for the Kenyans.

To match them, Uganda will count on implementing a working structure, nailing the set pieces on top being disciplined.

There is already a lingering feeling that Uganda are the underdogs in this one, this should take some pressure away from them as they have nothing to lose.

Kenya’s preparations have by far been better than Uganda’s. Trips to South Africa and duels in the Currie Cup cannot be played down although Mudoola thinks his side has done enough.

“They (Kenya) have prepared well but we have also done our part in the last three months. We feel it is enough to enable us to compete,” he told the Monitor during the side’s flag-off this week.

Uganda cannot afford to play on the back foot but try to impose themselves by taking the game to Kenya straight from kick-off.

“As we were training, we were also keeping an eye on our opponents,” admits Rugby Cranes captain Ivan Magomu, who is confident they can upset Kenya. 

With Joseph Aredo back in the fold, the onus is on backs coach Bobby Musinguzi to integrate him with Magomu and Philip Wokorach in the same backline.

Rugby Cranes 7sPhillip Wokorach touched down to the white line against Kenya in the semi-final

The trio is talented with creativity and can cause any side problems on their day, they also have the ability to cover a number of positions in the line.

How they are used will determine how big a threat Uganda can be to Kenya when running the ball.

When it comes to the setpieces, the forwards will have a field day. It is common knowledge that you cannot win a rugby game with poor setpieces.

Hookers Ronald Kanyanya and Faraji Odugo have to take charge of the lineouts.

Props Alema Ruhweza, Santos Senteza and Asuman Mugerwa will have to stand their ground against their Kenyan counterparts at the scrum.

Scrumhalves Paul Epillo and Conrad Wanyama will need to process that ball with the best decisions.

Not forgetting the discipline, it can cost you if you give away penalties or if your side suffers trips to the sin bin or if players are sent off.

In a nutshell, get the set pieces working, keep the discipline and convert the chances, then Uganda moves to the semifinals.

RUGBY CRANES SQUAD 

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 Oluoch, 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.

2023 RUGBY WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Saturday fixtures

Namibia vs. Burkina Faso

Zimbabwe vs. Ivory Coast

Uganda vs. Kenya, 4pm

Senegal vs. Algeria

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