Uganda are away to Senegal in the second game of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup after drawing away to Kenya in the opener.
Uganda pitched camp in Dakar on Sunday and it has been a successful week of preparation for the second game of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup in Senegal.
Before Senegal, Uganda held Kenya to a 33-all draw away in Nairobi in a game that doubled as the second leg of the Elgon Cup and this is the Cranes’ second game of the Tournament on the road.
Talking second matches, Uganda meet a Senegal side that lost their first game to Zimbabwe (26-18) and will be hoping the fighting spirit that spurred them to a draw down in Nairobi lives to die another day.
There will be no excuses with preparation since the team has had enough time in Dakar, which reduces the Rugby Cranes’ explanations for anything negative from facilitation, travel and training related to what will have gone wrong or right at the end.
Considering the fact that the hosts lost their first game of the Competition at home, it means they will be putting up a fight of their lives to avoid a second straight embarrassment in front of the home crowd.
Head coach John Duncan made only one change to his team replacing flanker Scot Oluoch in the back row with a forward in Ronald Musajjagulanyago of the Charging Rhinos which should directly reflect his ambition.
Uganda stand second with two-points in a group of six, led by Zimbabwe who have four after that away win against Senegal. In third are Kenya, level on points with Uganda while Senegal are fourth, not any different from Tunisia and Namibia who play for the first time tomorrow.
Uganda last played against Senegal in 2014 and lost by one-point, 32 to 31, in the then Africa CAR Championship and now the Gold cup.
The Rugby Cranes have been enduring a poor run looking back at their last five games registering three losses to Namibia and Kenya in 2016 and the latest coming against Kenya at home. There has been only one positive result, coming against Zimbabwe (Senegal’s tormentors in game day one) with a 34-27 win on 23rd July 2016.
While Uganda continues to struggle, Senegal on the other side are not any better, having posted only two wins in their last five against Madagascar and Zambia. They have lost to Botswana, Ivory Coast and most recently Zimbabwe (who are Uganda’s last victims).
The puzzle now remains with how Uganda will overcome bullying from the Senegalese who are clearly a bigger and stronger side, especially in the contact area.
To this, the best example lies in flyhalf, Aldric Folliot and hooker, Sadio Traore, who are capable of scrambling down a defense with their direct runs.
However, there is still a ray of hope as the Senegalese defense-wall tires so quickly. That’s an exploit Phillip Wokorach and Mathias Ochwo can look at with smiling faces.
At the end of the day, how well speed is used will determine if Uganda can get all four or none tomorrow in the Fifteen-a-side Rugby game at the Stade Iba Mar Doip.
What you wish for is what i would also wish for.
The other match will feature Tunisia against Namibia who will be playing their first game of the Competition while Kenya and Zimbabwe will wait for match day three for more action.