Africa Gold Cup
Namibia 55-6 Uganda
Zimbabwe 23-23 Morocco
Uganda Rugby Cranes were properly pummelled by defending champions Namibia in their opening game of this year’s Rugby Africa Gold Cup in Windhoek.
The home side were in charge throughout the game enroute to a comprehensive 55-6 win to show their intentions of reclaiming the title and qualifying to the Rugby World Cup.
Uganda’s hopes of qualifying for 2019 World Cup were on the other hand dealt a big blow despite this being only the opening game.
Uganda’s only points came from fly half James Ijongat’s boot as the team struggled to get a thing right on foreign soil.
Namibia ran in nine tries and five conversions against against a hapless Cranes that lost winger Lawrence Ssebuliba to a concussion early in the first half.
The problems for Uganda started with the front row failing to live up to the task.
Saul Kivumbi, Paul Sekatte and team captain Asuman Mugerwa were severally teased around as Namibia cruised to the try line.
Kivumbi was sent to the sin bin for infringement and at one point, Uganda had 13 men on pitch with Kivumbi and Arthur Mukama serving yellow card offences.
The Cranes midfield was also porous and had the hosts finding it easy to open up the defence and run over.
Uganda will now use the two-week break to reorganise ahead of their second tie away to Kenya in Nairobi on July 7.
Namibia now lead the log with five points from the win.
In the first game of the tournament, Zimbabwe and newly promoted Morocco played out to a 23 all draw in Harare.
Uganda will play three home games against Tunisia, Morocco and Zimbabwe on August 4, 11 and 18 respectively.
The winner of the competition will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan as Africa 1, joining reigning champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and the repechage winner in Pool B.
For Uganda to qualify for the 2019 World Cup as Africa 1, they have to win the Africa Gold Cup ahead of the six other countries from five matches in a round-robin format.
The second placed team will play a global repechage tournament in November.
The four repechage teams will play a round-robin to decide which country will draw into Pool B in Japan with New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Africa 1.