Barthes Trophy: Uganda Clinch Relegation Escape on Final Day

(Uganda Rugby Union photos)

Tries; Safidy Anjarasoa*2, Julia Raharimanantena
Cons; Elson Gabriel

Uganda: 21
Tries; Shakul Kigozi, Robert Ssentongo, Rodney Mugume,
Pens; Gift Wokorach, Matthew Musasizi

In an exhilarating comeback victory, Uganda U20 rugby team secured their place in next edition of the U20 Barthes trophy with a 21-17 win over Madagascar on the final day of the tournament.

The Junior Cranes found themselves struggling in the first half as they fell behind 12-05 to a determined Madagascar side.

Things went from bad to worse in the second half as Madagascar extended their lead to 17-05, leaving Uganda facing a daunting 12-point deficit and having to play a man less, suffering a yellow card issued to Shakul Kigozi in the same period.

Uganda refused to give up though, and mounted an impressive comeback in the mid second half of the game. Their determination and resilience paid off as they fought their way back into the contest, scoring two second half tries from Robert Ssentongo and Rodney Mugume, together with two penalties from Gift Wokorach and Matthew Musasizi, to take the lead 21-17.

Speaking after the game, Uganda’s head coach Emmanuel Katuntu expressed belief in his team and believed they were capable of emerging victorious from the start.

“The boys just had to dig deep, they had it within them, and they could bounce back in the second half to take the victory.” He said.

“I think there was a little bit of pressure on the boys, but I’m very happy they weathered the storm and took the victory,” he explained, concerning the team’s slow start to the game.

The victory was a major achievement for the side, who had not won a single game from day one of the tournament and were now fighting to avoid relegation in the seventh and eighth ranking playoff against Madagascar.

Their seventh-place finish means they will be back in the competition next year, and will have another chance to compete in pursuit to qualify for the U20 Rugby World Cup.



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