Six matches counted towards the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini this week with the Victoria Cup 2023 title decider between Uganda and Kenya arguably the pick of the bunch.
Having beaten Zambia 30-8 in their first game, host nation Uganda showed great resilience to edge Kenya 21-20 and lift the coveted silverware.
The Rugby Cranes came from behind three times in front of their own fans in Kampala and only snatched victory when replacement Liam Walker kicked the winning penalty with the last act of the match.
Kenya had raced into a 12-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes following tries from Victor Teddy Akala and Joel Inzuga and a Jone Kubu Tavaga conversion.
But Uganda hit back and claimed a slender 13-12 lead at half-time after fly-half Ivan Magomu kicked two penalties and then converted his half-back partner Conrad Wanyama’s try.
Kenya introduced a raft of replacements at the start of the second half but it took until the 58th minute before they had any impact on the scoreboard, a penalty from Jone Kubu Tavaga putting the Simbas back in front.
The score stayed at 15-13 to Kenya until Joseph Oyet crossed for the Rugby Cranes in the 72nd minute.
Within three minutes Kenya had reclaimed the lead thanks to a second try from Inzuga. But crucially Tavaga was unable to add the conversion and then missed with a penalty attempt, leaving the game in the balance.
And when Walker, playing in only his second test for Uganda, was presented with an opportunity with seconds remaining, he calmy stepped up and made no mistake from 40 metres out.
With victory, Uganda have claimed an additional 1.16 rating points which has moved them up to 39th place in the rankings, while Kenya, who also comfortably beat Zambia earlier in the week, are down one place to 34th.
Both teams now shift their focus to the return leg of the 2023 Elgon Cup. It will be played on Saturday, 11 November, across the border in Kisumu, Kenya.
In the Rugby Europe Trophy, there were wins for Switzerland, Czechia and Lithuania while Luxembourg came out on top against Austria to top Pool B of the Conference with a perfect 10 points from their first two games.
Switzerland and Czechia remain in 28th and 35th place, respectively, having overcome Sweden and Croatia, but Lithuania’s 32-27 victory over Ukraine lifted them up 11 places to 40th.
Luxembourg stay put in 62nd place as it was not possible for them to improve their rating of 41.44 points.