Jacob Ochen Credit: John Batanudde

A thirty-five man training squad for the Rugby Cranes’ campaign to qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2023 has today been released by Uganda Rugby Union (URU).

Head coach Fred Mudoola, appointed exactly two months ago to this date, has made his choices from the ongoing XVs premier league, plus the non-residential training sessions and trial matches held leading up to today.

Current premier league holders, Kobs and champions-in-waiting, Heathens contribute the highest number of players, eleven each. The rest are from Black Pirates (7) and Jinja Hippos (5) leaving six of the premier league sides without a single representative among the selected players.

Only one player, former captain Asuman Mugerwa plying his trade in Kenya with current Kenya Cup champions Kabras, is not based on home soil.

Asuman Mugerwa Credit: John Batanudde

The Uganda Rugby Cranes have just two months left to be in the best shape to battle for a first-ever Rugby World Cup appearance.

Uganda Rugby Cranes training squad:

  • Props: Ruhweza Alema (Pirates), Ivan Kabagambe (Pirates), Santos Senteza (Heathens), Collins Kimbowa (Kobs), Saul Kivumbi (Kobs), Asuman Mugerwa (Kabras).
  • Hookers: Ronald Kanyanya (Heathens), Alex Mubiru (Heathens), Odugo Faraji (Kobs), Jude Juuko (Kobs).
  • Second-row: Joachim Chissano (Heathens), Reynolds Kato (Heathens), Akera Komakech (Heathens), Emong Eliphaz (Jinja Hippos), Arthur Mpande (Kobs), Michael Otto (Kobs), Emmanuel Ecodu (Kobs), Robert Aziku (Kobs).
  • Back-row: Aziz Khan (Heathens), Scott Oluoch (Heathens), Isaac Rujumba (Jinja Hippos), Jacob Ochen (Jinja Hippos), Pius Ogena (Kobs), Alhajj Manano (Kobs).
  • Half-backs: Conrad Wanyama (Pirates), Ivan Magomu (Pirates), Paul Epillo (Heathens), Joseph Aredo (Kobs).
  • Centres: James Mugisha (Pirates), Innocent Gwokto (Heathens), Taufiq Bagalana (Jinja Hippos).
  • Outside-backs: Timothy Odongo (Pirates), Solomon Saul Okia (Pirates), Joseph Oyet (Heathens), Denis Etwau (Jinja Hippos).

Rugby Africa Cup 2022 in France

The Rugby Africa Cup 2022 title, and alongside it, a solitary ticket to the Rugby World Cup 2023, will be contested among eight nations following a knockout format from the quarterfinal stage.

The eight nations – Namibia and Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Kenya, Uganda and Algeria, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso – qualified from the pools (A through D per pair respectively) whose matches were played in the 2021 Rugby Africa Cup.

Amidst a great deal of controversy and uproar from the African rugby fraternity, the cities of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence in France were chosen by Rugby Afrique to be the hosts for this year’s African continental championship.

Thus, the matches will be played at the Stade Pierre-Delort and the Stade Maurice-David in the two cities respectively from July 1-10, 2022.

The Cup final will be held on July 10 to determine Africa’s representative at the Rugby World Cup 2023 after the bronze medal match, as well as the fifth-place and seventh-place placement matches.

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

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