Uganda U20 at the 2022 Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy Credit: Uganda Rugby Union/TW

The 2022 Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy concluded on Sunday evening after twelve matches played over nine days at the Nyayo National Stadium in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Zimbabwe’s Junior Sables were deserved champions, beating Namibia, 19-14, in the main cup final to lift their fourth title.

Uganda’s final piece of the action was a 24-11 loss against Tunisia in the 5/6th place placement final.

It was an underwhelming performance from the future Rugby Cranes who held their opponents by the sword but failed to make the kill. Uganda only managed to breach the Tunisian defence once in the entire match. A solitary try by vice-captain Charles Ryan Mwadhegu in the final 10 minutes having had multiple visits to the 22m territory.

The subsequent conversion was missed by captain Malcolm Daniel Okello who left seventeen points on the pitch in this game alone. Okello, the brilliant left-footed kicker, won the award for overall Top Points Scorer despite this below-par performance on the final day.

Against Tunisia, Uganda won in nearly all contests and metrics of the rugby match apart from the most important statistic – the scoreboard.

However, in finishing sixth at the event, Uganda completed a successful campaign in Nairobi. They came in as the bottom seed and moved up two places above Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire. Most importantly, head coach Richard Lumu and his charges sealed Uganda’s place at next year’s event.

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

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