William Mark Lukwago Credit: Denise Namale for Uganda Rugby Union/TW

It’s that time of the year again when rugby clubs in Uganda have to fend for themselves when their best players are summoned to camp for national duty.

Uganda has stepped up preparations for the Rugby Africa Men’s 7s in six weeks’ time just as the national 7s series nears climax with three circuits left.

see the full list of 22 players summoned to camp

It’s both good and bad news, depending on where you stand. But as the Ugandan rugby fraternity in general, we should all be happy that the country is planning to put its best foot forward to defend the continental crown. Plus, there will be Olympic Games qualification on offer too in Zimbabwe next month.

Should all or some of the summoned players not be available for their clubs any more this season, this will affect the ongoing Nile Special Rugby 7s Series. How?

  1. A level playing field for all core sides, thus more exciting rugby

As we saw last year, playing the national 7s series without national team players yields some exciting matches, shocking results, and unexpected winners. Already, this year, the Tooro 7s showed us that even with them still around, upsets can happen. More is coming, and it will be exciting for the fans to watch.

  1. New faces topping the charts

Nobert Okeny tops the try-scoring charts with twenty-three tries, closely followed by Arnold Atukunda (22), Pius Ogena (20), and Ivan Bulima (18) plus Mark Osuna, Alex Aturinda and Lawrence Ssebuliba – all tied with sixteen tries. Of these top five scorers, Atukunda, Bulima, and Ssebuliba have not been summoned. Without a doubt, there will be a new name and face topping the charts, starting with the Kyadondo 7s.

  1. Fewer tries and scoring rates

Looking at the women’s scoring sheets in the Nile Special 7s indicates that without national team players in the club squads, the rate of scoring drops by up to fifty-six per cent. It might not hit such high peaks for the men since the national team is not competing in the series, but a drop in the number of tries scored per team per circuit is expected.

  1. A new circuit winner, perhaps?

A new circuit winner will be too much to ask given that the three circuit winners thus far have been playing without some of their talent summoned to the national team. But they will now be significantly handicapped. Especially Kobs from whom up to seven players have been summoned including forever-unsung-hero Faragi Odugo.

What’s without a doubt is that there will be more new teams in the late knockout stages on Day Two in the remaining circuits.

Ernest Akorebirungi joined Kawowo Sports in July 2019 after one year as a student volunteer at the Makerere University Games Union. In his role as rugby correspondent, he offers unique insight and analysis...

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