Over the weekend Rugby Cranes head to Harare to face a Zimbabwe Sables side that was mauled by Kenya Simbas 61-15
Make no mistake; Kenya is aflame; they seek to emulate their 7s brothers and are gunning for the World Cup in 2019 in Tokyo. Motivation is high on the menu.
But thrashing Zimbabwe on home ground by that margin is nothing short of bewilderment. Last year Zimbabwe beat them 28-20 in the Rugby Africa 1A tie. However Kenya has been building, and the results are beginning to manifest.
In June they made a joke of the Cranes in our own backyard in Kampala; however, we did have our problems then, disorganisation and disgruntlemnt among players high up there. It was not until the Elgon Cup loomed that players started to show up for training, with coach Robert Seguya having to rebuild a team with rookies. The result of that played out against Kenya.
Then the Cranes went to South Africa for a 10-day camp: they bonded, got polished and sharpened before returning with tonnes of confidence to disrespect to make a statement against Namibia on July 2. Now they travel to play a humiliated Zimbabwe.
Question is how might they fair?
If the game against Namibia is anything to go by, Zimbabwe could be in for more misery. With coach John Duncan still in the Cranes corner things look very promising. He gives the boys tons of confidence and is very technical – he was actually not amused that we threw away the Namibia game. That was out game and we messed up, according to a source.
Duncan however is in it for the long haul (Africa Rugby Tier 1A) tournament this year until the last game against Kenya Simbas at the end of this month.
Cranes though played in front of a thundering crowd, which will not be the case in Zimbabwe. But the boys now believe. Asst. team captain Michael Wokorach boldly stated they would not be intimidated by Namibia. On that Saturday evening at Kyadondo, 16 of the Welwitscias had played the last rugby world cup.
Also, the last in this tournament, among Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda, gets demoted to Tier 1B. Already Uganda and Zimbabwe have lost; however, Zimbabwe has a worse margin.
It’s unlikely we’ll get back from a 48-10 defeat to Kenya (to retain the Elgon Cup), but with the new resurgent Cranes, the Simbas should expect a run for their money (in the Rugby Afrique tourney). Our best chance though remains against the Sables.
Cranes have to make it count if we are to remain in 1A.