The Uganda Rugby 7s honoured the invitation to the 23rd edition of the Safari Sevens that was held at the RFUEA Grounds along Ngong Road in Nairobi, Kenya and gave it their best shot.
A 12-man squad led by Michael Wokorach as captain played a total of six games over the two-day event, winning 3 and losing the remainder including a close 19-17 encounter with three-time World 7s Series champions South Africa’s Blitzboks.
Uganda finished third in Pool A, and thus progressed to the Challenge Cup where they overcame Zimbabwe and Zambia in the quarterfinal and semifinal by 17-12 and 26-21 respectively.
The victory against Zambia earned by a sudden death try in extra time set up a Challenge Cup final tie against South African outfit Western Province.
Western Province were the better side of the day as they exploited Uganda’s weaknesses in the match at the breakdown and punishing heavily the mistakes and handling errors from the Cranes.
The two sides were separated by a try at half time with the score standing at 05-12 in favour of Western Province, but Uganda’s efforts in the second half were undone by their own discipline as they were reduced to six men after Aaron Ofoyrwoth’s yellow card for an intentional knock forward for which a penalty try was awarded.
Not long after that, another Ugandan player Nobert Okeny was sent to the bin for an illegal tip tackle and while he was still serving the 2-minutes out, Aaron Ofoyrwoth who had just returned to the playing field was shown red for his second intentional knock forward in the match.
It was too little too late for the Uganda Rugby Cranes to pull another comeback on the day despite a try by Pius Ogena from a sharp pop pass into the gap by Kevin Keremundu.
Uganda thus finishes in 10th place at the 2019 Safari 7s after losing the Challenge Cup Final, and will pick some notes from this tournament as they prepare for the Africa Cup that is a fortnight away.
It is important to note that the Africa Cup will also double as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualifier, and Uganda will be having the target of making it to the tournament.
Challenge Cup Final
- Uganda 12-29 Western Province
- Tries: Nobert Okeny, Pius Ogena | Conversions: Joseph Aredo