Adrian Kasito scored 13 points while winger Solomon Okia and Desire Ayera had two tries each as the Rugby Cranes beat Ghana 53-12 in the Rugby Africa Cup group C opener at Kyadondo grounds on Saturday.
For the Cranes to advance to the next stage in a tournament that also acts as the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, they must finish among the two teams. And indeed, the result on Saturday is a big step forward.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 season never took off and consequently, the game was Uganda’s first international fixture since 2019.
The national team is at the moment under the guidance of assistants Brian Makalama and Bobby Musinguzi. The two took charge when head coach Robert Seguya who is currently undergoing chemotherapy was diagnosed with leukemia.
An early try from hooker Faraji Odugo set the tone. Captain Ivan Magomu missed the conversion. The fly-half then surrendered kicking duties to Kasito who never disappointed on his first start at fullback.
Kasito nailed a penalty and then converted tries from Ayera and Brian Odongo for a 22-0 lead inside 26 minutes. The stroll slowed down as the West Africans broke down Uganda’s defence.
Miles Scott and Tume-Baofo Josiah Kwetu touched down to reduce the deficit to 22-12. An Ayera try at the stroke of halftime ensured normal service was to come after the breather.
In the second half, Makalama saw his team play some hair-raising rugby. First, inside centre Pius Ogena, the local rugby MVP, broke and offloaded to replacement scrum half Aaron Ofoywroth to score, Kasito offloaded.
Man of the match Kasito continued his heroics as he initiated the next try with a kick-and-chase. He passed to Okia who slalomed past two defenders for a touchdown.
Substitute hooker Ronald Kanyanya then scored the eighth and final try after side-stepping a defender in a motion that made all the backs proud. Ofoywroth missed the conversion. It didn’t matter.
Ghana face Algeria on Wednesday. And later, Uganda will take on the North Africans under strict guidelines intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.