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No room for U-18s in Uganda Cup

Ugandan rugby is undoubtedly at its lowest ebb. The slump to Africa’s tier 1C and 34-0 capitulation at the hands of Kenya in the Elgon Cup second leg have left everyone with countless questions about Uganda’s 15s game. oach Yayiro Kasasa has refused to be drawn into the 15s debate but is determined to try and lift the gloom with some stunning displays in the shorter version of the sport.

“I don’t want to talk about what happened in Kenya last weekend or whatever is going wrong with Ugandan rugby at the moment,” Kasasa said after taking his side through drills at Dalziel Park, the first home of Motherwell Football Club on Monday evening. “My focus is here. That’s all I am thinking about.”

Kasasa is preparing his 7s side to face Pool D opponents Australia, England and Sri Lanka in the two-day Commonwealth Games tournament starting Saturday at the 51,000-seater Ibrox Stadium. At the same tournament in New Delhi four years ago, Uganda fell to England 55-0, lost to Australia 33-0 and managed a 35-5 victory over Sri Lanka. Here, Uganda will start their campaign against Australia before facing England and later Sri Lanka.

Two wins will send Uganda through to the Main Cup quarters.

“Respect but fear no man,” a defiant Kasasa answered when asked whether Uganda stood a chance against Australia and England. “We are going to cause some damage against one of the two sides,” said the New Zealand-trained tutor. “We just have to believe that it can be done and utilize our strength which is speed.” Despite sickness to Eric Kasiita, who couldn’t finish the Monday training session, the Rugby Cranes look fired up for the task.

Their spirits were lifted up by a 30-15 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly on Friday with Phillip Pariyo touching down twice. manuel Ecodu, Kasiita, Phillip and Michael Wokorach also registered tries.

“A win in the first game will set us rolling,” Kasasa offered, “All I need from the boys is reaching the quarterfinals and we’ll take it from there,” he added with the assumption that they would record a routine win over Sri Lanka. On Monday, the Cranes somehow found themselves sharing a bus with Kenya from the Games Village to the training ground. They also trained next to each other. Kasasa didn’t hesitate to show his tough side by scolding some of his players that had their minds diverted while trying to follow proceedings in the Kenyan camp.

Ecodu was the unluckiest of all, earning himself a spank with the ball from the coach as he stole a glance at the Kenyans’ drills.

“We must focus. We must concentrate. I don’t expect any sluggishness,” Kasasa warned. Kenya, 29-0 winners over Uganda in the 2006 Commonwealth Games bowl semifinal, have been paired with South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Cook Islands in Pool B. The team’s head coach Tolbert Onyango joined the rugby team in Scotland yesterday.Reigning champions New Zealand, who have won gold at all the previous four Commonwealth Games, are favourites.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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