Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Bring On Namibia

Kyadondo Rugby Grounds is the where the action is going to take place this Saturday as the Uganda Cranes look to fully be ensconced in Tier 1A of African Rugby’s finest.
            Photo credit: Nile Special

Playing in the Ivy league always means coming up against the best in the business, and Uganda is up against Namibia, the first of 3 Tier 1A games. (The other two against Kenya and Zimbabwe) Namibia (20) who are 30 places above Uganda (50) in World Rugby rankings as of June 27th 2016 boast of rich World Cup experience but the Cranes aim to let that be an inspiration for them going into this clash.

The last test match the Cranes hosted didn’t go as many would have wanted with our neighbors, the Kenya Simbas sweeping away the first leg of the Elgon cup 48-10 inspired by the brilliance of Nato Simiyu and MOTM Darwin Mukidza.

The Cranes took the two game preparations for the Welwitschias of Namibia to South Africa under the watchful eye of Coach and Free State Rugby Director Rory Duncan, losing one game and winning the other. The home side will hope to build on the winning momentum thy gained against Bloemfontein Police XV. Rory Duncan will be facing some familiar faces from the Cheetahs rugby ranks in Prop, Aaronos Coetzee and former Cell C Shark (now Glasgow Warriors Prop) Tijuee Uanivi but that hasn’t shaken the bloke as he believes he has prepared his troops in the backrow for any intimidation these two will ooze.
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Uganda looked a lot coy against Kenya with the best shot at scoring, Michael Wokorach, also Captain Fantastic, playing at the wing rather than his favored outside center role owing to a bevy of injuries and commitments. With Alfred Karekaho, Brian Asaba and Emmanuel Ecodu back in contention, Joseph Aredo healed from his concussion, Marvin Odong back from injury, the home folk have a reason to hope for a better show of what Rugby in Uganda is all about. There is a wild wish that Alfred will be paired with Michael Wokorach in the midfield giving the Cranes massive creativity in the backline, something Uganda was abysmally and overtly short of against Kenya. Lest we forget, Karekaho is equally as lethal as a flyhalf as he is as a center. Double-sided blessing. Marvin Odong’s timley return has seen the likes of Musajja and Brian Asaba heave sighs of relief as Odong’s work ethic is scary huge: a needed boost. Emmanuel Ecodu looks like a necessary antidote to the magnanimous winger scarcity in the Cranes camp. Aredo’s positional versatility and kicking abilities come as a blessing because that means he is as decent as flyhalf to play in Chris Lubanga’s position, a position he played in at Kobs when James Ijongat got injured. Needless to mention, Aredo has been Uganda’s sweetheart at the fullback position, quite the splurge at it and it wouldn’t hurt one single bit to watch him excel, once again, in that position.