Ian Munyani
  • Commonwealth Games 2022, Birmingham – Rugby Sevens
  • Pool D Result: Kenya 27-14 Uganda

Two yellow cards, shown to Ian Munyani and Adrian Kasito in each half, and poor kick receipt have returned to haunt Uganda Men’s Sevens. These are errors from days of the past from around 2019 up to the time when the national team was preparing for the Olympic Games Repechage.

Onyango’s squad who have played together as a core unit since that time returned home and fixed those errors, making them a championship-winning outfit.

But the ghosts appeared to linger out of the closet when the Rugby Cranes Sevens faced Kenya Shujaa in their opening match at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Straight at kickoff, Kenya won possession in the air from a short well-raised-and-chased kick. The ensuing possession resulted in a yellow card for Munyani who was sent to the bin for a dangerous tip tackle on Herman Humwa.

Johnstone Olindi opened the scoring in the corner before Humwa and Billy Odhiambo stretched the lead to 17-00 with two minutes left to play in the first half.

Uganda then won their first possession of the ball, claiming their first restart of four in the half. After side-to-side phase play, Timothy Kisiga broke through the middle for Uganda’s response. Try was converted by Philip Wokorach to make it 17-07.

Timothy Kisiga

A second try-scoring opportunity in the last play of the first half went begging when Adrian Kasito opted to kick a grubber from five meters away as the Kenyans scrambled in defence.

It was end-to-end rugby for three minutes in the second half with Uganda applying the pressure. Space on the wing would be created for Philip Wokorach to dance past his opposite man and score the second try. He converted in front of the poles to make it 17-14.

But a minute later, another yellow card, shown to Adrian Kasito for offside at the scrummage, ended Uganda’s comeback prematurely.

Kenya would speed away with two tries from Olindi and Kevin Wekesa for a 27-14 victory. They remain unbeaten against Uganda in the Commonwealth Games, but most importantly, they respond strongly after a disappointing show at the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens in Kampala earlier this year.

Uganda will return to action tonight at 9.20 p.m. EAT against world champions Australia who dispatched Jamaica 62-00 in their first match.

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

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