Uganda Rugby Cranes Credit: John Batanudde

While they were unable to make their maiden Rugby World Cup dream a reality, the Uganda Rugby Cranes contingent will depart from France this week with smiles on their faces.

On Sunday, July 10, the final matchday of the Rugby Africa Men’s Cup, the Rugby Cranes registered two milestones. One was from their performance on the pitch and the other, a consequence of that performance.

First, they beat Cote d’Ivoire, 18-17, at the Stade Maurice-David to finish fifth in the tournament. Tries from Solomon Okia and Conrad Wanyama, a penalty and conversion by captain Ivan Magomu, plus a Joseph Aredo drop goal, ensured that Uganda bagged their second win from three matches played.

The other results were a 30-29 win against Senegal in the placement semifinal and a 42-05 loss against Kenya in the quarterfinal.

Following that win against Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda climbed eight places in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings. This was the joint-highest move globally in the rankings updated on July 11, 2022, after the second week of the July international tests.

Uganda Rugby Union President, Godwin Kayangwe applauds the Rugby Cranes

The Rugby Cranes jumped from fifty-second place to forty-fourth in the world with 47.25 ranking points. However, they stay as fifth-ranked African team behind current world champions South Africa (dropped to 3rd), Namibia (up to 23rd), Zimbabwe (dropped to 32nd), and neighbours Kenya who are still thirty-third.

Namibia qualify for seventh Rugby World Cup in a row

Namibia were surgical in the Final against Kenya, scoring 36 unanswered points to win the 2022 Rugby Africa Men’s Cup.

With that triumph, the Welwitschias qualified for their seventh Rugby World Cup appearance in a row since 1999. They join hosts France, New Zealand, Italy, and Uruguay in Pool A of the event which will kick off in September next year.

Losing finalists Kenya still have a chance of qualifying for the Rugby World Cup through the repechage in four months where they will face Portugal (Europe), Tonga/Hong Kong (Oceania/Asia), and Chile/USA (Americas). The Repechage will be played from November 6-18 in Dubai, UAE.

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

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