Uganda Cranes have announced their squad that will kickstart their World Cup qualification preparations.
Head coach Fred Mudoola has included 35 players in his training squad. Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup winner with Kabras RFC Asuman Mugerwa has been included in the squad alongside Scott Oluoch, Solomon Okia, Ivan Magomu, Puis Ogena, Eliphaz Emong and Joachim Chissano.
Players who won the Africa Men’s 7s title with Uganda 7s have been excluded from the squad. Cranes have two months to prepare for the Rugby Africa Cup 2022, which doubles as the final round of Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying for teams on the continent. The knock out matches will take place in France between 1-10 July, 2022.
The tournament will be held at Stade Maurice-David in Aix-en-Provence and Stade Pierre-Delort in Marseille, which hosted the RWC 2019 Final Qualification Tournament.
The winner of the eight-team knockout competition will book a return to France 14 months later as Africa 1 at RWC 2023. The Africa 1 qualifier has been drawn in Pool A alongside New Zealand, hosts France, Italy and Uruguay.
Whoever finishes as runners-up following the much-anticipated Rugby Africa Cup 2022 final on 10 July will still have a chance of qualifying for RWC 2023 through the Final Qualification Tournament.
Following the Rugby Africa Cup Repechage 2021, the Rugby Africa Cup pool stage was held in July, 2021 and determined the eight teams who make up the quarter-final line-up in France.
Namibia, who are bidding to reach a seventh successive Rugby World Cup, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe qualified for the quarter-finals as pool winners.
They have been joined in the last eight by pool runners-up Burkina Faso, Algeria, Kenya Simbas and Ivory Coast.
Burkina Faso, the lowest competing nation on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings at 91, will take on Namibia, while Senegal play Algeria, Uganda face Kenya and Zimbabwe are scheduled to meet Ivory Coast between 1-2 July.
The winner of the quarter-final between Namibia and Burkina Faso will meet either Zimbabwe or Ivory Coast – who have appeared at three Rugby World Cups between them – in the semi-finals.
Either Senegal or Algeria will then play the winner of the quarter-final between Uganda and East Africa rivals Kenya for a place in the final.
A bronze final, as well as fifth-place and seventh-place play-offs, will be held on 10 July prior to the final, in which Africa’s representative at RWC 2023 will be decided.
— Uganda Rugby Union (@UgandaRugby) May 3, 2022
Uganda Cranes squad:
Props: Ruhweza Alema (Pirates), Ivan Kabagambe (Pirates), Santos Senteza (Heathens), Collins Kimbowa (Kobs), Saul Kivumbi (Kobs), Asuman Mugerwa (Kabras).
Hookers: Ronald Kanyanya (Heathens), Alex Mubiru (Heathens), Odugo Faraji (Kobs), Jude Juuko (Kobs).
Second-row: Joachim Chissano (Heathens), Reynolds Kato (Heathens), Akera Komakech (Heathens), Emong Eliphaz (Jinja Hippos), Arthur Mpande (Kobs), Michael Otto (Kobs), Emmanuel Ecodu (Kobs), Robert Aziku (Kobs).
Back-row: Aziz Khan (Heathens), Scott Oluoch (Heathens), Isaac Rujumba (Jinja Hippos), Jacob Ochen (Jinja Hippos), Pius Ogena (Kobs), Alhajj Manano (Kobs).
Half-backs: Conrad Wanyama (Pirates), Ivan Magomu (Pirates), Paul Epillo (Heathens), Joseph Aredo (Kobs).
Centres: James Mugisha (Pirates), Innocent Gwokto (Heathens), Taufiq Bagalana (Jinja Hippos).
Outside-backs: Timothy Odongo (Pirates), Solomon Saul Okia (Pirates), Joseph Oyet (Heathens), Denis Etwau (Jinja Hippos).