Home Rugby Rugby Cranes New faces on the National Rugby 7s team

New faces on the National Rugby 7s team

by Emmanuel Sama
2 minutes read

Previously, getting onto Tolbert Onyango‘s team was comparable to getting bar service at Legends on a peak SMACK League Sunday.

You could wake me up from my sleep in the dead of the night and I would name the Rugby Cranes Sevens team that would be named months later.

My listing would only be upset by injuries. Just like Thomas Shelby, the coach always made arrangements with men he trusted.

But that trust has been a double-edged sword, as it has paid off sometimes, and cost us other times.

In sports, there’s an unwritten rule that no one argues with success. You can deviate from the ordinary. If it works out you’re declared a genius, and if it goes the other way, you’re crucified.

The rigid selection was attributed to lack of funding, which gave the coach a limited pool of players to work with.

To overcome this, Tolbert had to dig out of his pockets to run an academy on the side to develop the promising players.

Even though some of these players didn’t make it to the team, the training impacted their abilities and skillset, which was displayed during their club performances.

The flexibility in the selections has given great talents like Timothy Kisiga a platform to run the show. It’s no longer just the Wokorach show.

In one of my conversations with Tolbert, I quizzed him about his selection criteria. He mentioned attributes like brilliance, speed and agility, discipline and hard work. So whoever you see on that team has one or two of the elements, if not all.

Uganda will compete in the HSBC World Rugby 7s series as an invitational side for Dubai (2-4 December) and Cape Town (9-11 December) legs.

Tolbert announced the squad to represent Uganda in the series last Friday. Hippos had the lion’s representation with 4 players on the team.

For Denis Etwau, these are familiar waters. However, for Jacob Ocen, Timothy Mugisha, and Twafiq Bagalana, it’s a whole new experience.

It’s no secret that this selection was based on the stellar performance exhibited by the Jinja-based side in the National 7s series, where they emerged the overall champions.

Pirates’ Mubarak Wandera is the other new face on the team with old timers Michael Wokorach, Aaron Ofoyrwoth, Adrian Kasito, Ian Munyani, Desire Ayera, William Nkore, Karim Arinaitwe and Alex Aturinda completing the team.

As much as we are for selection based on reward, we’ve seen it backfire for a national side.

To be in particular, the 2017/18 season where the Pirates dominated Ugandan rugby. Several players on the team were awarded National team caps which turned out to be a fiasco, as they failed to translate club form into brilliance on the big stage.

But just like little kids, we are excited about new things. We await to see new possibilities, new combinations and outcomes.

There isn’t much we are fighting for at the the HSBC series. So this is a platform to give international exposure to these players. All the best for team Uganda.

Courtesy photos

Written by Emmanuel Sama


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