KAMPALA, Uganda, On Saturday August 11th, the Uganda Cranes played against Tunisia during the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup, a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Uganda beat Morocco for their second consecutive win this year, cementing third place and their survival status of the first tier after losing their first two games.
Uganda ran in triples for each try, penalty, and conversion, scoring thirty points in the first half alone. Tries in total, converted 8 and added two penalties against Tunisia’s two tries and converted only one. Uganda’s tries came through fullback Phillip Wokorach with a hat-trick, Michael Wokorach, Solomon Okia, Robert Masendi, Asuman Mugerwa the skipper with a brace and Ian Munyani, while Tunisia’s try scorers were Hosem Khalfi and Achref Dhif.
Unlike the case against Tunisia, Uganda started the game against Morocco with fury and intent and not before long were awarded a penalty which Philip Wokorach converted. Three monutes later, Pius Ogena located space in the Moroccan defense and the center did the easy work of crossing the try line for Uganda’s and the game’s first. Morocco were not about to sit behind as Azelmad got in for the north Africans for their first try. The rest of the half was dominated by Uganda as Phillip Wokorach scored two more penalties, as Michael Wokorach and Ivan crossed late in the half for two Ugandan tries. Uganda would go into the break leading 33-07.
The second was a different affair as Morocco took the game to their hosts. Morocco’s forwads came to life and they were rewarded with two tries off their working mauls through Amraoui and Jnaoui. Wokorach got a penalty for the hosts but Morocco were again on the prowl and were in next to the posts through Bachar. Nerves were large through the fans but Ivan Magomu popped a good ball to Pius Ogena and the center would score his second try and extend Uganda’s lead, complimented by a Philip Wokorach conversion. Kimono had the last effort the game as he tried to latch onto a cross-ball from Aaron Ofoiwroth but was beaten to it by a Moroccan defender and Rasta brought the game to the end, with Uganda winning 47-29.
“I am very proud, and my team has worked very hard. They played very well. In the second half, we very well. We didn’t give the ball to Uganda and when you keep the ball, it increases the chances of winning. And it makes me proud of my team, 14 players from the local league; I am very surprised we played so well,” said Mr Was, the Moroccan coach after his team’s defeat in Kampala.
I thought we started the game very well but had a hard second half, but credit to the boys who came back and fought hard for the win,” said Uganda’s coach John Duncan.
“Pace has cost us into unforced errors but you have to credit Morocco on how they capitalized but at the end of the day, we did enough to win the game,” added Coach Duncan when quizzed about how Uganda’s backline was reacting without the ball.
“I am very happy and today in Uganda, we saw a very good game, two very good teams. Rugby is a feast for all, and education and it makes happy as the president. Congratulations to Uganda for the win. We saw Uganda passing very well like how rugby has to be played,” said Rugby Afrique president Abdelaziz Bougja who was in attendance.
Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO Group (www.APO-opa.com), the main Official Partner of Rugby Africa, said: “The number of fans following the competition is growing each week and will reach its climax on August 18th. Africa is definitely among the fastest-growing rugby fan-bases”.
Uganda’s final game will be against Zimbabwe in Kampala next weekend as the Gold Cup will be coming to an end for this year’s edition.