By Denis Turyahebwa
It was a tense morning as teams looked to qualify for the finals of the Africa Rugby Sevens in Kampala.
Holders Kenya was pushed out by Uganda playing on a soaked turf in a game that ended 22-12.
The Rugby Cranes remained composed and improved game after game at the home ground beating Zimbabwe 26-0 to win the title.
“We have had three months of training, hard training for this tournament. And I think today we have come out and showed that the hard work has paid off and I am very excited about the boys,” said Mike Wokorach, captain, of Uganda’s rugby 7s team.
Hilton Mudariki, captain of Zimbabwe’s rugby 7s team was however not happy about the turnout of events. “Yes, bad result, I mean we could have done better but well done from day one up to now, we put up a good fight.”
The Rugby 15s World Cup qualifiers will be held in France even as Kampala once again exhibits the continent’s capability of hosting the international event.
Rugby Africa maintains the neutrality of the hosting country and guaranteed the attraction of more fans.
“The level has really pushed up. The teams have worked hard. Every team has put a lot of effort, but it was nice to see Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Zambia really push themselves higher. It was a very good presentation of Rugby,” said Andrew owor – vice president, rugby Africa.
Like Zimbabwe and Kenya, Uganda has tough seasons ahead in preparing for tournaments. They have barely months to get in shape to match the likes of Fiji, Great Britain, Samoa, and New Zealand.
“We are just going back to the drawing board and train as much as we can because the scenes we are going to are the world scenes, World Cup, Commonwealth – those are big scenes – we are playing with the best teams in the world and definitely we have to go and match up,” said Mike Wokorach.
14 teams took part in the tournament including rising stars Burundi, Senegal and Burkina Faso drawing a promising scene and more representation of the continent at the International Rugby Board circuit.
“It is a matter of time for these countries to get more experience and be able to push. So rugby in Africa in terms of Sevens has actually gone up, and we need to have more of these tournaments on the African continent. At least once or twice a year we should be having a series,” said William Blick – member, international Olympic committee/former rugby player.