The Uganda Rugby Union (URU) 2023-24 season will kick off on Saturday, November 18, 2023, with a re-designed and expanded Uganda Cup for both men and women.
URU has increased participation in the men’s tournament from sixteen teams to twenty while the women’s tournament will still feature eight. However, both will now begin with the pool phase followed by knockouts.
“We start the season as usual with the Uganda Cup. We have an enhanced Uganda Cup this year to have it inclusive… to have more teams participating,” Ramsey Olinga, the URU Chief Technical Officer, said in a video published by the union.
The Uganda Cup will be played for eight weeks until January 20, 2024, when the respective winners will be crowned.
The twenty men’s teams which will participate in the 2023 Uganda Cup are Heathens, Pirates, Kobs, Hippos, Buffaloes, Mongers, Rams, Rhinos, Impis, Walukuba, Eagles, Kyambogo, Njeru Hurricanes, Warriors, Elgon Wolves, Mbarara Titans, Tooro Lions, Lira Bulls, Gulu City Falcons, and Kitgum Lions.
The women’s teams are Avengers, Thunderbirds, Black Pearls, Gulu Sprinters, Kabale Berg Princesses, Lady Swans, Ewes, and Panthers.
The men’s and women’s pools were drawn at the end of October last month.
The men’s tournament has four pools of five teams each as follows:
• Pool A: Heathens, Walukuba, Tooro Lions, Kyambogo, Rams.
• Pool B: Pirates, Elgon Wolves, Kitgum Lions, Eagles, Buffaloes.
• Pool C: Kobs, Njeru Hurricanes, Mbarara Titans, Warriors, Mongers.
• Pool D: Rhinos, Hippos, Gulu City Falcons, Lira Bulls, Impis.
The women’s tournament has two pools of four teams each as follows:
• Pool A: Avengers, Lady Swans, Kabale Berg Princesses, Gulu Sprinters.
• Pool B: Thunderbirds, Panthers, Black Pearls, Ewes.
The pool phase will be a single-leg round-robin format for both men’s and women’s teams. The top two teams from each of the men’s and women’s pools will progress to the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. These will be single-leg knockout matches up to the final.
Brief History of the Uganda Cup
The men’s Uganda Cup has been held every year since 1999 apart from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heathens have won it twelve times, Kobs nine and Pirates twice.
Heathens are the current men’s holders, having beaten Black Pirates by 20-14 in the 2022 final in Entebbe. On the same day, Avengers beat Thunderbirds by 18-16 in the women’s final to claim their first title.