- Rugby: According to the world rankings released this week for Sevens Rugby, the Rugby Cranes are 20th. But seeing that they have beaten some of the sides rated above them, coach Tolbert Onyango believes his charges will ably compete against the cream of Sevens in the game.
The national Rugby Sevens coach Tolbert Onyango is under no illusions ahead of the team’s bow at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast today.
The team, who touched down on Monday, open their medal quest against Wales this morning (3:59am Ugandan time) at Robina Stadium before the gargantuan task of beating the world’s number one 7s team Fiji in the afternoon (10:53am).
Onyango told SCORE that the team has worked on technical areas and the best way to measure their success is in games against the world’s elite sides.
“You never know; this is rugby and it all happens in 14 minutes. It is possible that we can have one over them and that means that we must play a flawless game. “But mostly we want to address technical areas and see them against teams like Fiji who are high quality opposition.”
The coach is keen to see how his boys execute set pieces in games against Wales and Fiji.
“We want to work on set pieces and it is mainly on kick-offs or receiving and attacking.
There has been a tremendous improvement from last year to now but we want to get it to about 90 per cent right. And then there is the issue of man-on-man tackles.”
Onyango also reasons that Ugandan players are by and large smaller than the rest of the top tier nations and there is a bit of work to be done on their conditioning to get the players up to the right size and strengths. “If we can be able to muscle up and stand toe-to-toe with nations like Fiji, for me that would be a success. “Because once we fix all those underlying issues, then the results will come.”
The Rugby Cranes suffered knocks to Desire Ayera and Philip Wokorach while in Hong Kong but the pair have looked unscathed in training and will be available for selection.
Veteran Michael Wokorach, a member of the 2014 Glasgow Games team, has urged his teammates to play their game and not worry so much about the opposition.
“They look at us as underdogs but rugby does have surprises and we are up to the task,” he said. Wokorach said scores and results will be the least of their worries as they continue their preparations for the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco in July.