Uganda Rugby Cranes kicked off the 2021 Rugby Africa Cup campaign with a comfortable 53-12 win over Ghana Eagles on Saturday.

The hosts ran in eight tries in front of empty stands of Kyadondo Rugby Ground to take charge of Pool C of the tournament that also doubles as a 2023 Rugby World Cup Qualifier.

Uganda Rugby Cranes Credit: John Batanudde

Ghanaian resistance lasted for just three minutes. Ivan Magomu’s kick-off was fielded but Koffi Appiah sent it out off the boot, and Faraj Odugo overthrew the ball. However, Ghana couldn’t hold on to the possession, turned over the ball almost immediately, and couldn’t hold their defensive line. Magomu kicked to the corner and Uganda’s maul blasted over for Odugo to dot down after a couple of phases.

After missing the conversion, Magomu maintained the touch clearance finders but conceded the kick-for-points duties to full-back Adrian Kasito who split the posts with his first kick to give Uganda an 8-0 lead.

While Ghana had a slightly heavier pack, the first scrum of the game showed they couldn’t hold and from the second, Uganda extended its lead. Rugby Cranes drove the Eagles through five meters before eighth man Desire Ayera picked up and threaded a pass to speedster Solomon Okia who easily beat his man and went over. Kasito added the extras.

Solomon Okia grounds Credit: John Batanudde

In the 25th minute, former Rugby Cranes captain Brian Odong dotted from another driving maul with Kasito adding the twos for a comfortable 22-00 lead.

Myles Scott caught Rugby Cranes napping to score in the corner and the West Africans gained momentum that would be rewarded a few minutes later with Josiah Twum-Boafo’s try and conversion.

Credit: John Batanudde

Brian Makalama’s charges reacted swiftly and scored before the break with Ayera grounding at the stroke of halftime and Kasito making no mistake with the boot for a 29-12 lead.

Ghana started the second half brightly but the introduction of utility halfback Aaron Ofoyrwoth who replaced Paul Epilo increased the tempo of Uganda’s attack. It was not long before he was set up by Pius Ogena to run clear between the posts for Uganda’s sixth try of the game that was converted by Kasito.

Adrian Kaito embraces Solomon Okia Credit: John Batanudde

With Ghanaians out of legs, Okia and Ayera completed their doubles with substitute hooker Ronald Kanyanya selling a dammy to join the try party.

Ghana have three days to regroup as they return to action on Wednesday against Algeria. The Cranes will be in action on Sunday against the North Africans.

You can watch the Match Replay here.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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