Walukuba Barbarians celebrates | Credit: Uganda Rugby Unions
  • 2021 Core Status Qualifier Event – Main Cup Final
  • Walukuba Barbarians 19-14 Gulu City Falcons

Walukuba Barbarians have gained core status for the 2022 Uganda National Rugby Sevens series. The Barbarians will replace relegated Sailors, to whom they lost the 2019 qualifier event.

“It’s been a while! We lost it to Sailors in 2019 in the finals. We couldn’t wait for any other opportunity like this!,” said head coach Leonard Lubambula, who was ecstatic about the achievement.

“We had to rebuild a new team. I give it back to the players (who) played so hard (and) won four circuits in the Eastern region but came short in the Soroti national circuit. Coming down here, it has been eyes on the prize until the last whistle,” Lubambula said.

After topping Pool B with two wins and a draw, the Jinja-based outfit leaped over Entebbe Jaguars, who had a tournament to forget, by 36-15 in the quarterfinal, and then outmuscled Mbarara Titans, with whom they drew in the pool stage, by 24-05 in the semifinal.

Similarly, Gulu City Falcons topped Pool A with two wins and a loss. A quick 36-07 victory over next-door neighbours Lira Bulls in the quarterfinal was followed by a commanding 19-00 victory over Rhinos in the semifinal. The Falcons, who were without a doubt the most entertaining team to watch on the day, had shocked Rhinos, 14-00, in the pools earlier.

This set up a final between two teams in stark contrast to each other; the controlled physicality of Walukuba Barbarians and the explosive athleticism of Gulu City Falcons.

And it is the Barbarians who were victorious coming from 07-00 down to lead 19-07 and then defending for their lives to stop the Falcons’ recovery at 19-14.

“Next year’s core sevens is going to be tough… we are not yet ready to win. Our goal is to maintain our core status and keep in the top ten. It’s tough work coming back from down,” Lubambula added.

This national men’s sevens core status qualifier event was the final competitive tournament of the year on the Ugandan calendar.

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

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