Uganda and Zimbabwe to represent Africa at rugby World Challenge Series

By Xinhua

NAIROBI: Africa will have two countries competing in the rugby sevens World Repechage Challenger Series gunning for the last ticket for the World Series.

Zimbabwe and Uganda, who finished in the second and third positions in Africa Men’s Cup in Johannesburg last year, will be up against 12 other contestants in the Challenger Series in Chile and Uruguay this year.

The two teams from Uganda and Zimbabwe will also compete at the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament for the last spot up for grabs for Tokyo Olympics in June. Representing South America’s women will be Colombia and Argentina while Brazil and Chile will compete in the men’s tournament.

Joining them at the repechage will be North America’s women’s sides, Mexico and Jamaica with their male counterparts completing the region’s presence at the tournament. The latest teams to secure their spots are Europe’s Russia and France in the women’s competition with France and Ireland representing the men.

Rugby Africa president Khaled Babbou says the continent has high chances of sending three teams to the Olympics joining already qualified Kenya and South Africa. The Uganda Rugby Cranes coach, Tolbert Onyango has summoned fifteen experienced players and two debutants, Alex Aturinda and Kevin Balagadde.

“The two debutants have done well in the past couple of months in the league and Uganda Cup and have potential to be great sevens players and we are hoping to get them up to speed with the rest of the lads,” said coach Tolbert.

The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series will be launched in February 2020 with the goals of developing the next generation of rugby players and taking sevens to new nations in the wake of its successful Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games.