July 15, 2013

Rugby Cranes Drop 20 IRB slots after Relegation

The 48-30 Uganda Rugby Cranes loss to islanders Madagascar on Sunday meant such a heavy blow to Ugandan rugby.

Not only did it imply that Uganda could not appear in the Rugby World Cup until 2019 but also meant coach Peter Mugona’s charges relegated to top tier 1B with fall massively in the International Rugby Board (IRB) World ranking.

The Marki’s victory at the 40,000-seater Stade de Mahamasina clinched third place for the hosts in the Confederation of Africa Rugby (CAR) saw Uganda tumble out of the top 50, dropping nine places to 51 in the world and joined Tunisia, Senegal and Ivory Coast in the top tier 1B division.

Neighbors Kenya followed up last month’s Elgon Cup success over Uganda with a 52-11 victory when the sides met in midweek. Kenya ensured their rise up the rankings with a 29-17 win over Zimbabwe in the tournament final, which doubled as a qualifying stage for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Uganda battles Kenya in the Elgon Cup at Kyadondo last month
Uganda battles Kenya in the Elgon Cup at Kyadondo last month

Kenya like Uganda have never played in a World Cup, but on recent results are the form team in the region with their successful week helping them climb from 37 to an all time high 31 in the world. Their previous best showing was 32nd in July 2010.

The recent fortunes of Kenya and Uganda have been hugely contrasting; in mid-June the sides were only three spots apart, with Uganda in 37th and Kenya 40th, 20 places now separate the two rival countries.

Zimbabwe, who competed at the World Cup in 1987 and 1991, had been 31st in the world before the week’s results but now sit one place behind Kenya.

The hosts of the Africa Cup, Madagascar, lost 35-18 to Zimbabwe earlier in the week to remain 44th.

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