Rugby Cranes soar

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The Rugby Cranes enlivened their chances of winning this year’s Africa Gold Cup when they beat Senegal 17-16 in Dakar last Saturday.

Tries by Charles Uhuru and James Odongo, Phillip Wokorach’s seven points from dissecting the posts for two conversions and a penalty helped the Cranes on their way.

In the end, Uganda leapfrogged Zimbabwe into top spot with six points, leaving the Cranes’ destiny clearly in their hands, to have a shot at qualifying for the 2019 rugby world cup.

With three fixtures to go, Uganda host Tunisia on July 15 at the Legends ground, and should be buoyed going into this one. After the Tunisians crushed to a heavy home defeat to Namibia last weekend 7-53, Uganda, who have picked two valuable results away from home should prove too strong for them.

Cranes’ assistant coach Robert Seguya said that while they were pleased with the team’s results on the road, he believes the team is yet to reach its peak.

Since South African John Duncan took charge of the Rugby Cranes in 2015, the team has experienced an ascendency in performance. This saw them travel to Zimbabwe last year in a tier 1A fixture, and they won 34-27.

But Zimbabwe actually beat Senegal more convincingly than Uganda did, 28-16, on June 24. Yet, Cranes can capitalize on the psychological advantage over the Sables, drawing back to last year, when they face off in the final game on August 5.

That is probably what Namibia will be feeling, when they come down on July 22. Last year, Namibia beat Uganda 40-31 at the Kyadondo rugby grounds. Namibia are only behind South Africa, the top-ranked team in Africa, which makes them big preposition for Uganda.

Namibia and Kenya, who are ranked number 20 and 26 in the world, will be Uganda’s biggest challengers to winning the Africa Gold Cup. But with news that Uganda has climbed from world ranking number 40 to 38, following their recent exploits, the Rugby Cranes cannot relent.

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The Observer

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