Uganda and Zimbabwe knocked out of RWC 7’s qualifying stage

By eric odanga
Jul 21, 2018
  • Uganda were unable to match the physicality and consistency of Samoa. (Photo by David Kiania)

  • Zimbabwe and Uganda face off in an African derby after being knocked out of the RWC 7’s qualifiers. (Photo by David Kiania)

While Kenya qualified to the next round of the Rugby World Cup Sevens pre-qualifiers, two other African teams, Uganda and Zimbabwe fell to Samoa and Wales, the winners in 2009.

Uganda were beaten 45-7 by Samoa while Zimbabwe had a dream start and led 12-0 before Wales rallied back to win 33-12.

Gilbert Nyamutsamba said his team which trained in Rome before flying out to San Francisco could have been affected by the humidity.

"Our resolve has always been to give our best and have fun. We demonstrated this by a good spell in the opening period," he explained.

Tafadzwa Chitokwindo opened the scored for Zimbabwe in the first minute and Boyd Rouse converted for a 7-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Shayne Makombe scored the second try. Rouse missed the conversion. But, Wales replied with a try by Jared Rosser. Connor Pritchard converted to narrow the gap.

With the halftime siren sounded, Luke Morgan added the second try which Pritchard slotted for the lead to change hands 14-12 for Wales at half time.

In the second half, Wales demonstrated their experience of playing in the World Rugby Sevens World Series by scoring three unanswered tries by Morgan, Ben Roach and Cory Allen.

Quality build up matches

Nyamutsamba admitted lack of quality build up matches and competitions also contributed to Zimbabwe’s performance in the first match.

"Ideally, we need to play against some of the top teams to improve at the top level. You can observe the level of the competition here," he concluded as he waited for the tie against Uganda.

Tolbert Onyango, the Uganda coach admitted his team could have been overwhelmed by the very uncompromising and physical Samoans.

"We expected a close match despite the physicality. Eventually, we were unable to match the intensity," the coach admitted. Their cause was not helped by an early visit to the sin bin by the team captain Michael Okorach for a high tackle.

It took barely a minute for Samoa to stamp their authority when Joe Perez scored the first try which Alatasi Tupou converted.

Samoa then used the numerical advantage after Okorach was sent to the ‘naughty chair’ to score a try by Neria Fomai. Tupou converted to stretch the lead 14-0. Belgium Tuitagaloa was next over for a converted try.

Just before the break, Uganda pulled one back with a try by Okorach and Philip Wokorach converted for a 19-7 lead in favor of Samoa.

Starved of possession

In this half, Uganda were starved of possession and struggled at contact points. "Ideally, we had the physicality to slow down the Samoans but it is their consistency which gave them an upped hand," Onyango observed.

In the second half, Samoa continued from where they left off by scoring four unanswered tries by Alamanda Motuga (2), Laaloi Leilua and Tofatu Solia. Two of the tries were converted by Tupou and one by Murphy Paulo.

Uganda now face Zimbabwe in the lower competition. "We are disappointed by the show against Samoa and look forward to a rivalry with Zimbabwe," Onyango concluded.

The two coaches added their voice to the format of the competition arguing that a pool competition which could have pitted them against top tier teams was the only way the game could be developed.

Results Men’s Pre-Round 16

Kenya 19 Tonga 7, Canada 29 Papua New Guinea 21, France 50 Jamaica 0, Wales 33 Zimbabwe 12, Samoa 45 Uganda 7, Russia 21 Hong Kong 7, Japan 33 Uruguay 7, Ireland 17 Chile 12.