Uganda have returned to the World Rugby Rankings top 50 after a 40-11 win over higher ranked opponents the Ivory Coast in the opening round of the Africa Cup Division 1B at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala.
Five different players got their names on the scoresheet for the Cranes who had the game effectively sewn up by half-time. James Odong, man of the match Ronald Musajjagulanyago, Lawrence Sebuliba and Scott Oloch scored first-half tries and Kevin Makmot kicked two penalties and three conversions for a 32-6 lead at the break.
A more evenly-contested second half brought a try apiece for either side with Cranes vice-captain Michael Wokorach cancelling out Traora Salfi’s effort.
Uganda’s victory warranted an increase of 1.32 rankings points and lifts them four places above Sunday’s opponents in the rankings to 50th. The Philippines, Guyana and Croatia are the other nations to lose ground.
Colombia and Sweden also benefit from Ivory Coast’s three-place fall, moving up one place to 48th and 49th respectively.
Sargos stars for Senegal
Captain Steeve Sargos led from the front with a man of the match display as Senegal opened their Africa Cup Division 1B campaign with a 42-3 win against Mauritius.
Full-back Sargos kicked 10 points through two conversions and two penalties as Senegal claimed a bonus-point win in the first competitive clash between the nations.
The victory did not come with the added bonus of rating points, however, given Senegal are 40th in the world rankings – some 47 places higher than Mauritius.
Madagascar were the other winners on the opening weekend of Division 1B with a 36-18 victory against Botswana.
The win earns Madagascar 0.29 of a rating point but they remain 45th in the overall rankings.
Flanker Tinella Rabemananjara scored a try either side of half-time and right winger Bernard Razafindranaivo bagged a second-half brace as Madagascar recovered from a 13-12 half-time deficit to claim their third straight win against Botswana since fixtures between the nations first began in 2001.
Botswana drop a place in the rankings to 67th with China the beneficiaries.
Sables on verge of title
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe are one win away from being crowned Africa Cup champions after labouring to a 19-8 victory over winless Tunisia in Harare.
Replacement second-row Fortune Chipendu scored the Sables’ only try, just six minutes after coming on for the injured Norman Mukondiwa. Tichafara Makwanya slotted the conversion for a 13-3 half-time lead.
Tunisia hit back though shortly after the restart with a try for tight-head prop Mlise Mohamed. But Makwanya’s third penalty of the match crucially put the Sables more than one score ahead before replacement kicker Lenience Tambwera confirmed the win late on with another three points from the tee.
The Sables now need to beat RWC 2015 qualifiers Namibia in Windhoek on 15 August to be crowned Africa Cup champions.
Tunisia’s latest defeat confirmed their relegation to Division 1B following earlier losses against Namibia and Kenya.
Neither side’s ranking was affected by the outcome, with Zimbabwe remaining 27th and Tunisia 41st.
Inset photo credit: Lucy Broderick (www.facebook.com/lucybroderickphotography)
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