Rugby cranes off to France for world cup qualifiers

The Rugby Cranes have departed for France to participate in the African qualifiers for the 2023 Rugby world cup. 

Oscar Olaro, Vice President of Technical at Uganda Rugby Union told URN in a phone interview that the team left the country around 3 am on Tuesday morning to participate in the knockout tournament that will kick off on July 1st, 2022. 

Uganda will compete against top Africa Rugby countries for one available ticket to the finals set to take place in France in September next year.

 Uganda will battle neighbors Kenya in the quarter-finals. 

Over eight African countries including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, and Uganda will compete in the Rugby African Cup 2022 in France, which will serve as the last qualifying round for the 2023 world cup.

To qualify for the final round, Uganda topped group C in the second round of the qualifiers at Kyadondo Rugby grounds in July last year.

 During this tournament, Rugby Cranes beat Ghana but fell to Algeria. 

Although the head coach, Fred Mudoola is aware of how challenging Kenya can be, he nevertheless believes the team has had enough preparations to take on any opponents regardless of their world rankings.

“We have trained for three months, and at this point, there is no turning back, like any team we want to go out there and win. Kenya is very physical and their forwards have serious run, but we have also done the best,” Mudoola said.

Captain Ivan Magomu also believes that it will take determination for the Rugby Cranes if they are to produce top performance in the tournament.

 “This is our chance to put Rugby Cranes on the European map, it will take a ton of desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice all put together and for that, we will achieve it,” Magomu said.

While flagging off the team Monday, the State Minister for Sports, Hamson Obua urged the Rugby Cranes fifteens to emulate what Rugby sevens did in April 2022. 

Uganda Rugby Sevens team qualified for the commonwealth games and the Rugby sevens world Cup after winning the Rugby Africa Cup of nations that were hosted in Kampala.

According to the qualifiers’ format, the winning team of the Africa Rugby Cup will directly qualify for the world cup. 

South Africa is the world defending champion after beating England in the 2019 finals in Japan. 


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