Credit: Uganda Rugby Union/TW

Having slowly staggered back to their feet at the beginning of the year after over 360 days with no action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda Rugby Union will this weekend wrap up the 2021 season.

From the short-format men’s fifteens league and sevens series to the women’s tens league and sevens series, there has been lots of action; amidst the numerous pauses, postponements and cancellations, delayed announcements, and restrictions; for the players and fans to indulge.

For the women’s game, all roads will lead to Kyadondo Rugby Grounds for the national sevens series finale on Sunday, 28 November 2021. As has been the setup from the start, in line with the objective of growing the women’s game, the series will be played in two tiers; tier 1 for the senior and experienced squads and tier 2 for the age-grade and fresh teams.

Tier 1 has Central Region champions Black Pearls and runners-up Avengers, Eastern Region champions Mbale Eagles who were a sight to behold as an invitational team in two of the three Central Region circuits, and Northern Region champions Kitgum Queens.

Similarly, in Tier 2, there are Central Region champions Blue Whales and runners-up Black Diamonds, Eastern Region winners Mbale Eagles 2 and runners-up Spire Lions Academy. Nile Leopardess who were runners-up in the Northern Region will compete in Tier 2 due to their competitive experience. And for the first time on the national series, there will be a women’s team competing from the Western Region. Mbarara Lionesses and Kisoro Jaguars have formed a select franchise team to compete at the event.

Clashes with men’s series finale

In a rather surprising turn of events contrary to the earlier mentioned objective of growing the women’s game, the men’s series finale, which was postponed by a week due to security and safety concerns in the city, will be played on the same day as the women’s finale. Both event locations are just half a kilometre apart in Lugogo.

This presents a challenge, especially for the women’s game that struggles with fans attendance and media attention, of splitting the audience who are more likely to choose the men’s game. But most importantly, the women’s games will get the short end of the stick in terms of match officials whose best will certainly be deployed across Jinja road.

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

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