Leonard Lubambula Credit: Lillian Nakitende

Uganda Lady Rugby Cranes begin their Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2021 campaign on Wednesday afternoon behind closed doors at Kyadondo Rugby Club. Head coach Leonard Lubambula has revealed the criteria which will guide his final squad selection for the tournament.

“We are looking at four factors; skills levels of all our players, physical attributes of each player for each position, game sense and knowledge of rugby for all the players selected and attitude to represent the nation,” Lubambula said.

Lubambula summoned his first training squad on May 7 at the back of the regional 10s championships played in the Eastern, Northern and Central regions. It was a forty three-strong combined sevens and fifteens squad that has since been split as the team went into a bio-bubble in preparation for the Rugby Africa Cup.

Yvonne Najjuma Credit: Lillian Nakitende

The Lady Rugby Cranes entered their first residential training camp in Jinja City on May 18 and are, for about a fortnight, now based in the capital Kampala.

They will take on Zimbabwe in two back-to-back test matches for the first time in their history. Uganda will be playing their first competitive test rugby in the post-COVID era.

“We have never played against them (Zimbabwe Women Sables). It’s an opportunity for us to have test matches against new opponents who we are hosting here. Having watched their games against Zambia – they are a good side but we are taking this as an opportunity for us to play a new rugby team,” Lubambula said.

He has outlined a clear target to win both matches and believes that his squad are ready to hit it.

“It’s a huge task ahead of us. Our focus is to win the two test games and the girls are focused too,” Lubambula added.

Uganda is currently ranked 39th in the World Rugby rankings, one place behind opponents Zimbabwe which will make a good test for both teams.

  • Rugby Africa Women’s Cup – Kampala, Uganda
  • Wednesday, July 14, 2021 – 1pm: Uganda vs Zimbabwe
  • Sunday, July 18, 2021 – 1pm: Zimbabwe vs Uganda

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

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