Desire Ayera Credit: Alex Cook/Dubai 7s
  • Emirates Invitational 7s – Tournament Two: Day One Results
  • Kenya 28-10 Uganda
  • Spain 26-07 Uganda
  • Canada 24-21 Uganda

Uganda Men’s Sevens were unsuccessful in their efforts to get a win in the pool matches during day one of the second Emirates Invitational 7s tournament. The Rugby Cranes blew hot and cold on the day, playing brilliantly in some matches and being off the mark in the others.

Despite losing all their matches, the team showcased an improved performance on the day from the first weekend.

They improved their kick receipt on restarts, were able to retain possession for longer phases and had better tackling. However, there was a dip in continuity of play as they threw one too many loose passes.

Head coach Tolbert Onyango appears to have tweaked his strategy and approach to the matches both in attack and defense.

Kenya vs Uganda Credit: Alex Cook/Dubai 7s

On attack, the Rugby Cranes Sevens employed the kick & chase to get behind tight defenses. This resulted in two tries by Desire Ayera and Adrian Kasito against Kenya in the first game. In the other games, the team’s kickers Aaron Ofoywroth and Philip Wokorach were seen trying to replicate this tactic.

On defense, especially in the game against Spain, the team used a seven-man line of defense with a high press. Most teams usually use the 6+1 defense setup with a sweeper dropping out of the line and tracking the ball. This is for safety in case a break in the line occurs, and for the extra man to arrive legally for contest at the breakdown. But with the seven-man line, defenses have all men and zones on the pitch covered apart from the space behind them.

This defensive approach yielded both positive and negative returns for Uganda. Solomon Okia intercepted a long pass to score the team’s only try in the game while Aaron Ofoywroth was shown red for repeated infringements at the breakdown.

The Rugby Cranes Sevens will be pleased with their performance but will be yearning to do better when action resumes on Friday.

This will be in the knockout and playoff matches as the event climaxes after a fortnight behind closed doors.

  • Emirates Invitational 7s Cup Quarterfinal pairings:
  • 9:06 am EAT: France vs Uganda
  • 10:12 am EAT: Kenya vs Chile

Ernest Akorebirungi is an amateur rugby player and a keen follower of local Ugandan rugby.

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