Robert Seguya would do anything to be at Kyadondo rugby ground today in any capacity. The national rugby team coach is currently not in the best moment.
In May, the entire rugby fraternity was hit with tough news as Rugby Cranes’ coach Seguya was diagnosed with Leukemia. Soggy, Seguya is arguably Uganda’s greatest player, is undergoing chemotherapy.
His team, now under his assistants, Brian Makalama and Bobby Musinguzi, will want to do something to lift Soggy’s spirits.
Uganda host Ghana and Algeria over the next week in the Rugby Africa Cup group C. The Ivan Magomu-led side must finish among the top two to stay in the running for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
These will also be the first 15s international games since 2019 after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the entire 2020 calendar.
Today’s game against Ghana will feel different. The team has been training whilst in a bio-bubble. In addition, the fun that punctuates rugby games is shelved.
“No fans allowed but the live stream channel will be communicated,” Uganda Rugby Union (URU wtote in a statement this week. It is far from ideal but this is the so-called new normal.
The skipper Ivan Magomu wants to hear the noise from inside the quiet. “That’s the new normal now. We shall definitely miss the 16th man (fans) but I’m sure they will be behind us all the way,” Magomu said.
Makalama has named as many as eight uncapped players while handing the captaincy to the Stanbic Black Pirates fly-half.
“The selected team is a mixture of experience and youthfulness,” Makalama said.
We tried to get a team that has individuals with basic skills, individuals that are able to think on their own and individuals that are not shy to exploit their talent.”
Of the newbies, only Kevin Balagade is expected to start as the blindside flanker, a role and shirt number (6) Soggy owned.
That back row also has Byron Oketayot on the openside flank and Desire Ayera as the ball carrier.
Importantly, Magomu will not feel lonely as former skipper Brian Odongo will start as the loose-head prop on a front row that is completed by hooker Faragi Odugo and tight-head Santos Senteza.
Eliphaz Emong and Robert Aziku will occupy the second row to complete the tight five.
That will enable Odongo to command the pack as the other deputy Paul Epilo joins Magomu as the second half back at scrumhalf.
Epilo, who has captained Toyota Buffaloes and Heathens before, is another lovable and level-headed lad not afraid of calling one out. His work rate will be a good example to many new players in the side.
Once he picks the ball from the scrum, Epilo will expect the Betway Kobs’ midfield pair of Pius Ogena and Justin Kimono to pick the pass and break the line.
Makalama’s starting XV is completed by wingers Solomon Okia and Daudi Ssemwami. Adrian Kasito will be the sweeper at fullback after deputizing Philip Wokorach who isn’t in the side.
“We have a crop of exciting young players on the team and being chosen to lead them is a privilege,” Magomu commented.
Uganda, ranked 41st, are widely expected to overcome Ghana, 87th in the world. Algeria is ranked 92nd by World Rugby.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202107100089.html
Author : Monitor
Publish date : 2021-07-10 09:05:52